YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County’s prosecutor is asking the Ohio Parole Board to deny parole for five inmates.
Rosalie Grant is one of those inmates who are up for parole. She was initially sentenced to death for intentionally setting a fire on November 1, 1983, that killed her two young sons. On Jan. 10, 1991, however, former Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste commuted her death sentence, sentencing her to life in prison with no restriction as to parole eligibility.
Several weeks prior to the fire, Grant secured life insurance policies on her sons, though she did not take one out for her daughter who had been staying with a relative.
Mahoning County Prosecutor Gina DeGenova said while Grant has made productive use of her time in prison, she does not believe that she can be reintegrated back into society.
“She set fire to her sons’ bedroom, closed their bedroom door and walked outside to secure her own safety. She then stood outside while the bodies of her own children burned beyond recognition. The pain inflicted upon these children by their own mother is incomprehensible and unforgivable,” DeGenova said in a statement given to WKBN.
DeGenova is also objecting to parole for three others:
- Tommy Williams, who was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the April 23, 2000, fatal shooting of Michael Booker during a fight at Pal Joey’s bar. Booker was hit in the stomach and died of his injuries.
- Leslie Hickson, who was convicted of several felonies, including the rape of an 85-year-old woman in a nursing home while on probation. According to DeGenova, Hickson had actually been released on parole after burglary and rape convictions in 1991 but after his release, he was convicted of additional felonies in Hamilton County, including burglary, breaking and entering, receiving stolen property and forgery.
- Paul Dickerson, who was convicted of killing Jerome Tellington on Feb. 4, 1990, during an argument inside Willie Mae’s Soul Kitchen on Youngstown’s South Side.
- Derry Johnson, who was convicted of several violent felonies in four separate cases, with the latest conviction being in 2008 on charges of kidnapping, aggravated burglary, robbery, felonious assault and having a weapon under disability.
In those cases, DeGenova said the inmates’ less-than-stellar prison records put doubt in her mind that they have been rehabilitated.
The Ohio Parole Board is expected to make a decision on these cases in March and April.