Nov. 2—JEFFERSON — Convicted cop killer Odraye Jones is not happy at the Ohio State Penitentiary.
Last month, Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge David Schroeder agreed to allow Jones, now known as Alik Allah U Akbar, to represent himself in his upcoming re-sentencing trial.
The order came with one condition — that Jones follow the rules set by the court. One of the rules is that Jones be present at every hearing.
“There was an issue and delay in him coming here today,” Schroeder said.
Jones said, “I didn’t want to come. I don’t get the point of coming here.”
Schroeder said, “The law requires you to be here. You are required to be here and you will be here.”
Jones then explained that when he returns to the penitentiary, they put him in a dry cell for three days because he refuses to walk through the body scanner. He said it’s against his religion and he doesn’t want to appease them.
He also briefly mentioned being “in the hole” but did not elaborate.
Dry cells are a form of solitary confinement where a prisoner is strip-searched and then placed alone in a cell with the lights constantly on and no flushing toilet or running water.
Schroeder told Jones to file a motion about the issues he’s having with the penitentiary and he will review it.
“I’m in the process of doing that,” Jones said, noting his incarceration at the prison poses several problems.
Schroeder said he understood that the prison was making “reasonable accommodations” for Jones so he can represent himself. Those accommodations include a typewriter in Jones’ cell, access to a paralegal and email.
Jones complained that the paralegal assigned to help him can’t be depended on. She only shows up once a week or two, he said.
Schroeder said from now on, Ashtabula County public defender Margaret Brunarski will make copies and file motions for Jones.
Another issue is Jones only has access to email for an hour a day, he said.
“We are going to work out the logistics of this,” Schroeder said.
Jones remained skeptical.
“That prison is not prepared for that … I shouldn’t be in super max [prison]. That’s the bigger issue,” he said.
Schroeder said as the trial date gets closer, he will order Jones to be moved to the county jail.
“Being in that prison is hindering my ability to represent myself,” Jones said.
Schroeder then turned the discussion to time, with the new trial date set for May to give Jones “the opportunity to prepare for the trial,” he said.
He warned Jones that some things he previously talked about doing for his defense, such as a neuropsychological evaluation, take time.
“You must file a motion to the court about who you want to do the evaluation,” Schroeder said. “This takes a significant time period.”
Schroeder also promised to work with prison officials to do whatever is necessary to allow him to represent himself.
“The typewriter is not efficient,” Jones said.
Schroeder said, “File what you need in terms of technology. Make that the first motion you file. We need to move this thing along. It’s going to trial in May. It’s going to move forward.”
Jones, now 47, was sentenced to death in May 1998 by a jury in the November 1997 fatal shooting of Ashtabula Police officer William D. Glover Jr.
The re-sentencing trial came about after Jones’ death sentence was revoked last year by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found the testimony of a clinical psychologist, called to the witness stand by Jones’ defense attorneys, contained racist statements.
The appellate court determined the conviction still stands, but Jones has the right to a new sentencing phase of the trial.
Jones has his life at stake here. The jury will have three options: to sentence Jones to life in prison with the possibility of parole, life in prison without parole or to reinstate the death penalty.
Throughout the course of the past 10 months, and again on Wednesday, Schroeder warned Jones that he must comply with the rules of the court or he will not be able to represent himself.
“This proceeding won’t be converted to a circus,” Schroeder said.
Jones replied, “It’s already a circus.”
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