YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Attorneys for the man convicted in 2008 of a 1985 cold case murder are appealing a recent ruling by a judge in the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

They filed a notice of appeal today with the 7th District Court of Appeals, saying they plan to appeal a July 5 ruling by Judge Anthony Donofrio that said the jury pool in Adams’ original trial was tainted by pretrial publicity.

Judge Donofrio held a two-day hearing last month after a federal judge ruled that jurors in the original case of Adams, 65, may have been tainted by bias because of a past rape conviction. He ruled July 5 that he did not find any evidence that jurors at the time were tainted by pretrial publicity which could have influenced their verdicts.

Adams was convicted in 2008 of the Dec. 29, 1985, rape and murder of Gina Tenney, a YSU student from Ashtabula, whose body was found on the West Avenue railroad bridge near the Mahoning River.

Although police at the time thought they had enough evidence to charge Adams for Tenney’s death, prosecutors refused to present the case to a grand jury. Adams was convicted of an unrelated rape in 1986 and spent 18 years in prison.

In 2006, the Tenney case was reopened when Marc Dann, the attorney general at the time, invited police departments to submit DNA in cold cases to be tested. Adams was charged after DNA in the Tenney case was submitted to the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Adams was originally sentenced to death by former Judge Timothy Franken after a jury recommended the sentence, but that sentence was overturned on appeal and he was sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 20 years. He is up for parole again in 2028.

During the trial, jurors first had to determine if Adams was guilty. After they found him guilty, they then had to sit through a second phase of the trial, where his lawyers presented evidence to try and spare Adams from being sentenced to death.

Adams’ current attorneys from the state Public Defender’s Office claim that jurors in the murder trial knew of Adams’ previous conviction for the rape of a Boardman woman for which he spent several years in prison for, and that could have affected their judgment when they deliberated.

That conviction was not introduced during the trial.

Judge Donofrio listened to testimony from the jurors either in person or via zoom during the hearing and said in his ruling he found no evidence that the jurors knew of the conviction during the trial.