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Oregon trucker faces execution in 1991 Ohio murder

Posted on : 11-07-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker


A Bible taken from an Ohio victim who was shot and robbed during a multistate killing spree helped tie an Oregon trucker to the crime and send him back to a death penalty state.

Joseph Daron Jr. had the Bible with him when he picked up John Fautenberry, who was hitchhiking east of Cincinnati. Daron offered to drive Ǫ miles out of his way to leave Fautenberry at a spot on Interstate 71 where he’d be more likely to get a ride to Columbus.

Prosecutors said that fit a pattern in which Fautenberry took advantage of people’s kindness to him, killing four men and a woman in four states within five months.

Fautenberry, 45, has said he killed repeatedly because he had a rotten childhood, drank heavily for several years and suffered a brain injury in the Navy. He faces execution Tuesday for murdering Daron, 46, of Milford, on Feb. 17, 1991.

Investigators said Fautenberry shot Daron twice with the same .22-caliber handgun he used to kill a man a few days earlier at a New Jersey truck stop as he traveled from Connecticut to Cincinnati.

Court records show that Daron pleaded for his life before Fautenberry shot him, took Daron’s vehicle, cash, credit cards and Bible and threw his body into a wooded area near the Ohio River.

On Friday, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to delay Fautenberry’s execution, upholding a lower court ruling that says Fautenberry is not entitled to a government-funded neuropsychologist to help prove that he killed because of brain damage.

Fautenberry’s court-appointed attorney, Dennis Sipe had asked the appeals court to appoint an expert in brain damage to present Gov. Ted Strickland with evidence that Fautenberry suffered brain damage as a child and in the Navy.

“Clearly, in the Navy, he had his head caught between a ship and a pontoon boat, so this is not like something that doesn’t have backup evidentiary support,” Sipe said earlier in the week.

Sipe said Friday he planned to refile his request with the U.S. District in Columbus for money to hire a neuropsychologist to bolster another clemency petition.

As a truck driver, Fautenberry traveled widely and left victims on both coasts, as well as in the Heartland. He confessed to slayings in Alaska, Oregon, Ohio and New Jersey.

In New Jersey, Fautenberry was convicted of manslaughter for killing fellow trucker Gary Farmer and received a life sentence.

In Alaska, Fautenberry pleaded guilty in the March 1991 fatal stabbing of Jefferson Diffee of Juneau and received a 99-year sentence.
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