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As part of a push to limit the impact of COVID-19 within Ohio’s prison system, Gov. Mike DeWine said he commuted the sentences of seven people Friday.
One of them was Alexis Martin, now 22, who was serving a life sentence for murder in the slaying of her pimp when she was 15.
“She was 15 years of age when she committed the crime, 17 when she went to prison,” DeWine said Friday at his coronavirus press briefing. “She is a child sex-trafficking survivor.”
DeWine called the facts of her case “particularly unique.”
She was tried as an adult in the death of Angelo Kerney after helping set up a break-in at his home, which served as both a drug den and a place of underage prostitution, Cleveland.com reported at the time of her sentencing. Two men broke into the home and shot Kerney and another man, the latter of whom survived.
OHIO’S DEWINE APPROVES RELEASING MORE THAN 100 NONVIOLENT PRISON INMATES AMID CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
The case attracted the attention of Kim Kardashian West in her Oxygen documentary, “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project.”
She told Oxygen that the injured man was raping Martin in the home at the time of the break-in.
“It makes no sense why they would try these children as adults when they are the ones getting trafficked,” she told Oxygen.com earlier this month.
Martin will be released to a supervised group home, DeWine said Friday.
One of the other seven people who received a commutation was Tom Noe, whom prosecutors said used state money to pay off business loans and fund a lavish lifestyle, including the renovation of his Florida Keys home. The 65-year-old was due for release in 2026.
DeWine denied commutations for another 84 prisoners.
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Ohio has also begun “comprehensive testing” at three state prisons in an effort to determine how many inmates have asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, according to the governor’s office.
At the Marion Correctional Institution, the governor’s office said officials tested 152 inmates — and 39 percent of them tested positive without showing symptoms.
“This comprehensive testing will give us insight on both how to best coordinate response at these facilities, as well as data and insight on how comprehensive testing within a cohort will affect testing numbers,” DeWine said. “I want Ohioans to know that these numbers do not necessarily indicate a new problem at these facilities, but simply wider testing.”
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There were more than 700,000 confirmed cases across the U.S. as of Saturday morning and over 37,000 deaths. In Ohio, there were more than 9,000 cases and at least 418 deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.