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Ohio executes man who stabbed woman 138 times

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio man who stabbed a woman 138 times and cut off her hands was put to death on Tuesday in the state's third execution since the lifting of a six-month moratorium imposed by a judge last year.

Brett Xavier Hartman, 38, was convicted of the murder 15 years ago of Winda Snipes in Akron, Ohio.

The time of his death by lethal injection was 10:34 a.m. (1534 GMT). Before his execution, he said, "I'm good, let's roll," according to JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Hartman met Snipes, 46, at a bar in Akron and admitted they had sex several times before she was found murdered in her apartment on September 9, 1997.

Hartman was convicted in April 1998 of tying Snipes to her bed and stabbing her 138 times, slitting her throat and cutting off her hands. They were never found.

At trial prosecutors introduced statements Hartman made to police, a co-worker and a fellow inmate mentioning cutting off Snipes' hands to eliminate evidence.

Hartman also admitted he made two anonymous 911 calls to police and afterward hid behind a tree as police searched Snipes' apartment.

While in prison, Hartman became an ordained minister for the Christ Assembly of Churches and continued to maintain his innocence.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said the evidence was "overwhelming that he brutally stabbed and mutilated Winda Snipes."

"Hopefully Winda's friends and family can now start the healing process," said Walsh.

For his last meal, Hartman chose steak with sauteed mushrooms, fried shrimp, baked potato with butter and sour cream, macaroni and cheese, vanilla ice cream with walnuts, Pepsi, Dr Pepper and Honeycomb cereal with milk, Smith said.

Hartman ate most of the food with the exception of the macaroni and cheese.

The Ohio Parole Board unanimously recommended against clemency in October, and Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich denied clemency November 5.

Hartman was denied clemency three times and his execution was twice delayed. In 2009 federal courts allowed him to pursue an innocence claim, and in 2011 he was spared because of a federal lawsuit over Ohio's death penalty.

He was the 38th person put to death in the United States this year and the third in Ohio.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Cynthia Osterman and Xavier Briand)

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