Monday, June 17, 2024

Alva Campbell, Jr., Ohio

Alva Campbell, Jr., Ohio

Updated: Monday, June 3, 2019 11:36 am EDT

Alva Campbell Jr.Alva Campbell, Jr. was scheduled to be executed at 10 am EDT, on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio. His execution will no longer take place. Alva has been convicted of murdering of 18-year-old Charles Dials, while attempting to flee from police custody, on April 2, 1997. Alva spent the last 20 years of his life on Ohio’s death row.

In early 2018, Alva died while on death row in Ohio.  He was awaiting his most recent execution date. Alva was 69 years of age.

Alva alleged he was raised in an “abusive, loveless, amoral, and unstable environment,” along with his five siblings. His parents drank excessively, especially on the weekends, which led to violent physical and verbal altercations. Alva’s father encouraged him to steal, offering praise when he did so without getting caught. His father was eventually arrested, however his life did not much improve and he rarely attended school. At the age of 11, he was removed from his mother’s care. Alva did not have a stable environment, often fleeing from wherever he was placed. He was also placed in multiple juvenile detention centers for a variety of crimes.

At the age of 19, Alva Campbell was first sent to prison for shooting, with intent to kill, a state trooper. He was released in 1971. In 1972, Campbell was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled 20 years later. Approximately five years later, in 1997, Campbell was again arrested, this time for charges of aggravated robbery.

On April 2, 1977, Campbell, who was confined to a wheelchair after feigning paralysis, was being driven by Deputy Sheriff Tersa Harrison to his arraignment. As she was attempting to help Campbell out of the vehicle, he assaulted her, stealing her pistol and fleeing the scene.

Charles Dials, who just finished paying a ticket and was driving away, stopped when Campbell ran out in front of his pickup truck. Campbell pulled open the driver’s door, telling Charles to move over and that he did not want to hurt him. Charles complied and Campbell drove off with Charles.

Campbell eventually pulled into a side street, stole Charles’ money and forced Charles to swap clothes. Campbell then drove to a K-Mart parking lot, after purchasing alcohol. According to his confession, Campbell and Charles sat talking for several hours. They eventually heard a radio report about an escaped prisoner in a truck. Charles asked Campbell if he was the man the radio was talking about. Campbell confessed and they talked a while longer.

Campbell then drove to the back of the store, where he parked and told Charles to lie on the floor of the truck. After Charles complied, Campbell shot him twice before returning to the main parking lot. When Katie Workman parked near the truck, Campbell attempted to kidnap her. Katie escaped, losing her wallet and car keys.

Campbell drove her vehicle to another shopping center and attempted to kidnap James Gilliam. James also escaped but managed to keep his keys. Campbell was spotted a short time later by the police. He drove away, and then attempted to flee on foot before hiding in a tree. He surrendered when he was discovered and gave a video-taped confession. Campbell was convicted on four counts of aggravated murder and sentenced to death in 1998.

Alva Campbell has had several execution dates over the last 20 years. Most were delayed due to ongoing challenges and appeal regarding Ohio’s execution protocol, which stemmed from the controversial execution of Dennis McGuire in 2014. 

Alva’s June 5, 2019, execution date came after his November 15, 2017, execution was halted when technicians failed to locate a usable vein after trying for 25 minutes. Alva died on March 3, 2018, of natural causes. At the time of his death, Alva was suffering from cancer, lung disease, asthma, and heart problems.

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Charles Dials and the others who were harmed by Alva’s crimes. Please pray for the family of Alva.

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