In 2010, a court decided that convicted serial killer and rapist Anthony Kirkland would die for his crimes, but a re-sentencing trial scheduled to begin on Nov. 9 could give him a chance to escape death row.
Though a court found the 48-year-old guilty of murder in the deaths of Cassonya Crawford, MaryJo Newton, Kimya Rolison and Esme Kenney, and recommended capital punishment for two of those, Kirkland's legal team filed an appeal, reports WLWT.
The Ohio Supreme Court approved Kirkland to undergo a new sentencing trial, which will reportedly work as a completely new trial altogether, due to the specifics of that appeal.
The appeal case was first brought to the attention of the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled in 2014 that the prosecutors made "improper and substantially prejudicial" statements during the sentencing period.
At that point, prosecutors reportedly spoke to the victims' feelings and referred to facts that were not established in the initial trial.
According to court records, they told the jury that since Kirkland was already facing life in prison for the deaths of Rolison and Newton, that means "Casonya and Esme are just freebies for him," according to Cincinnati.com.
The Ohio high court found this inappropriate on the grounds that attorneys cannot argue that "a sentence less than death is meaningless and would not hold the defendant accountable for a victim’s death when he is already serving a life sentence," though the bench ultimately decided that Kirkland still deserved to die.
From there, the U.S. Supreme Court examined the case and ruled in 2016 that the death sentence had been based, improperly, on the judge's findings instead of a verdict from the jury, so the Ohio Supreme Court determined that Kirkland should be tried again to decide on his punishment.
Judge Patrick Dinkelacker will hear the new trial, as the original judge recused himself.
Kirkland reportedly killed at least four women between 2006 and 2009 and burned their bodies because, as he told officials, "fire purifies."
The convicted killer previously pleaded guilty to killing a woman in 1987 after she turned him down for sex. He served 16 years in prison.
Crawford died at the age of 14 after disappearing while walking home from a friend's house in 2006. Her body was found stabbed and burned. Kinney was choked with a rag and then set on fire after her death.