Dawud Spaulding, Ohio

 

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2021

Dawud E. Spaulding was scheduled to be executed at 10 local time on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio. His execution has been stayed. Thirty-eight-year-old Dawud is convicted of murdering Erica Singleton and Ernie Thomas on December 15, 2011, in Akron, Ohio. Dawud has been on death row in Ohio for the last seven years.

In late 1999, or early 2000, Dawud Spaulding began dating Erica Singleton. They went on to have two children; Dre'San in 2004, and Damonie in 2009. According to family, the relationship was not a happy one, with reports of constant fighting by 2006. In 2008, Erica allegedly stabbed Spaulding during an argument because he had been cheating on her. Erica also allegedly sprayed him with mace in 2009, although Spaulding claims that at that time, he was not cheating.

Between April 2010 and December 6, 2011, Erica contacted the police at least 5 times regarding actions that Spaulding had taken against her. Once he was convicted of domestic violence and telecommunications harassment and another time he pled guilty to domestic violence. Erica also twice sought a protective order against Spaulding. Her request was granted each time, however, each time she failed to appear at the final hearing to finalize the protective order. Erica also told police she believed Spaulding was stalking her using her phone’s GPS.

Around October 2011, Erica began dating a man named Ernest Thomas, and would often spend time at his home in Akron, Ohio. On December 14, 2011, Erica spent the day with Ernest, leaving her children with her mother. Erica and Ernest spent the early morning hours of December 15, 2011, with Ernest’s nephew, Patrick Griffin, and friend Anthony Shellman. Around 2 am, Patrick was leaving the house when he saw someone with a gun. Shellman, walking by Patrick exiting the home, heard three gunshots and then Patrick screaming. Shellman ran back into the house and hid. Shellman, Ernest, and Erica were all able to escape and call the police.

 

Patrick was taken to the hospital where he survived his injuries, but became paralyzed from the neck down.

 

Later that morning, Erica and Ernest were found lying in the driveway of Ernest’s home. They had both been killed by a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Evidence suggested that they had returned to the house to pack some bags and were attempting to leave, when they were shot. The keys to car were in the ignition and the car was started. There were also several pieces of luggage.

 

Spaulding was arrested on December 16, 2011. Spaulding denied involvement in the shootings, saying he was at his girlfriend’s apartment during the first. He then alleges that he was on his way to buy marijuana during the double murder. Spaulding claims that he had called Erica shortly before their bodies were discovered, asking to speak with their son before he went to school. When he never heard back from Erica, he called Erica’s mother. After buying the drugs, Spaulding claims he spent time at his cousin’s house before returning to his girlfriend’s apartment.

 

Police were unable to verify Spaulding’s alibi, as his girlfriend could not testify that Spaulding was home all night during the night of the murders. When police told Spaulding that his girlfriend could not corroborate his alibi, he changed his story, claiming to sleep in his car at his cousin’s house. Cell phone records also dispute Spaulding’s alibi, as several phone calls place him in the vicinity of the shooting.

 

Spaulding offered police two additional leads. One of the leads was two women who allegedly spoke to Erica after Patrick was shot. Spaulding claims Erica hid a gun with the two women. Neither woman was willing to talk to the police. Spaulding also told police that he had heard a rumor that Patrick had shorted a drug buyer.

 

Spaulding was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Erica and Ernest. He was also convicted on various other charges, including violating a protection order, attempted murder, assault, and domestic violence.

 

Maureen O’Conner, Chief Justice with the Supreme Court of Ohio, granted a stay of execution to Spaulding, in order to allow time for him to complete his appeals.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the families of the Erica and Ernest. Please pray for peace and healing for Patrick. Pray for strength for the family of Dawud Spaulding. Pray that if Dawud is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be presented prior to his execution. Pray that Dawud may come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

 

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