An Ohio man who was already incarcerated for killing two women was sentenced to death Tuesday after admitting to strangling two teen girls and burning their bodies.
Hamilton Common Pleas Judge Patrick T. Dinkelacker sided with the jury’s recommendation when he condemned Anthony Kirkland to death for the murders of Casonya Crawford, 14, in 2006 and Esme Kenney, 13, in 2009. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Kirkland spoke about his money issues in prison when given the opportunity to speak during sentencing.
“It makes me sick to my stomach that you will talk about money in prison when you killed two teenage girls,” Dinkelacker said.
Kirkland was already serving life in prison for murdering Mary Jo Newton, 45 and Kimya Rolison, 25, both in 2006. Alarmingly, he had previously served 19 years for the 1989 slaying of Leona Douglas, 28, his uncle’s girlfriend who he beat and burned alive with lighter fluid after she turned down his proposition for sex.
In interview tapes played in court, Kirkland not only recalled how he killed Kenney and Crawford but how he murdered Newton and Rolison.
Kirkland told police that he approached Crawford and offered her money for sex after she left her grandmother’s home. When she declined his $20 and $60 offers, Kirkland said he became enraged and choked the life out of her, WCPO reported.
Reports indicated that Crawford was burned beyond recognition—so much so, that she could only be identified by one of her feet.
Kirkland was apprehended in March 2009 in connection with Kenney’s death. The 13-year-old was taking a brief jog around the Winton Road reservoir when she accidentally knocked into Kirkland, causing him to spill his beer. In turn, Kirkland beat and raped her before strangling her and lighting her lower half on fire.
WXIX reported that Kirkland also took Kenney’s iPod and watch—which were found in his possession when police found him sleeping near the crime scene and took him into custody.
Kirkland said he killed Newtown after picking her up in Eden Park. Following an argument, he said he killed Newtown and took her Avondale to burn her corpse.
“I chased her,” Kirkland revealed to police. “We got in the van and I just choked her. Then, she turned to look up at me and she told me that the way things is, death wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
Kirkland said he also picked up Rolison and, like Newton, they drove around in his van. After someone robbed him, Kirkland claimed he became irate and stabbed Rolison in the jugular. As he did with his other four victims, Kirkland burned Rolison’s body.
During the interview, Kirkland told police that he burned his victims’ bodies “’cause fire purifies.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer noted that this was the second time Kirkland was tried for the Kenney and Crawford’s murders. The Ohio Supreme Court overturned his prior conviction because Prosecutor Joseph Deters said during closing arguments that the defendant is already serving life sentences and the two teens’ slayings shouldn’t be “freebies.”
“Have a nice life,” Kirkland reportedly told Dinkelacker as he left court Tuesday.
“You too,” the judge responded.
Dinklelacker set Kirkland’s execution date as March 9, 2019. However, it’s unlikely to stand as Kirkland plans to appeal.
[Featured image: Anthony Kirkland/Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office]