July 11, 2012
On Tuesday, July 10, 2012, Ohio Governor John Kasich commuted 63-year-old John Jeffrey Eley’s death sentence to life in prison without parole. John was scheduled to be executed on July 26, 2012, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio for the murder of 28-year-old Ihsan Aydah, owner of Sinjil Market in Youngstown, Ohio, on August 26, 1986.
Governor Kasich acknowledged that the crime was a “heinous act” for which John was fully responsible. “In participating in the murder, John Jeffery Eley, who has limited mental capacity, acted under the direction of another man (Melvin Green) who was later acquitted.” Melvin was acquitted because John refused to testify against him, even in exchange for a lighter sentence.
(Melvin, now 54, is currently in prison, with a scheduled release in October. He was convicted of illegally carrying a concealed weapon, having a gun in his car, and possession of drugs. He possibly faces additional time for violating parole and a prior aggravated robbery conviction. All charges are unrelated to the John Eley’s case.)
Melvin supplied John with a gun, which John used to shoot Ihsan. Melvin also told John to go into the store and that Ihsan may have a gun. Former Mahoning County prosecutor Gary Van Brocklin agrees with Governor Kasich’s decision, when considering these facts. “But for Melvin Green, none of these events would have happened.” Van Brocklin submitted a videotape to the parole board saying John should be spared. This on the record testimony supporting an inmate is rare.
Since the start of John’s trial, his lawyers have tried to have him declared mentally ill. They believe John is “borderline intellectual functioning” but John has refused to cooperate with experts and has therefore, never been fully diagnosed or evaluated.
Please pray that the family of Ihsan will find peace with Governor Kasich’s decision. Please pray for the family of John Eley. Please pray that John will come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.