Ohio court rejects death sentence for dad in toddler’s death

COLUMBUS (AP) — A juror who made racially biased comments on a jury questionnaire should not have been seated in the trial of a black man accused of fatally beating and starving his 2-year-old daughter, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a decision reversing the defendant’s conviction and death sentence.

The juror said she agreed with the statement that black people “as a group are more violent than other races or ethnic groups,” and also said she sometimes did not feel comfortable around black people, according to the court’s ruling.

Justice Michael Donnelly, writing for the majority, agreed with arguments by lawyers for death row inmate Glen Bates that his attorneys at trial improperly failed to object to the seating of that juror.

The court’s 5-2 decision returned Bates’ case to Hamilton County Court for a new trial. Bates, 37, was convicted in 2016 of killing his daughter, Glenara Bates, a year earlier.

Glenara weighed under 14 pounds when she died in March 2015, the court ruling said. Authorities say she was beaten and had belt and bite marks, among other injuries.

The girl’s mother was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Prosecutor Joe Deters was reviewing the ruling on Thursday, said spokeswoman Julie Wilson.