Last updated: August 24. 2013 12:43AM - 210 Views

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LIMA — A judge on Tuesday refused to take the death penalty off the table in the case of a man accused of beating a Lima woman to death in August during a robbery.

Judge Richard Warren of Allen County Common Pleas Court denied a series of motions filed on behalf of Hager Church seeking to throw out the death penalty as a potential sentence if Church is convicted on charges of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery. Church’s attorneys, William Kluge and Stephen Chamberlain, sought to overturn the original indictment arguing the state’s death penalty system is unconstitutional.

Warren disagreed.

“The Ohio Supreme Court has routinely affirmed the constitutionality of the state death penalty system,” Warren said.

Kluge and Chamberlain also argued the death penalty violates constitutional and international law.

Warren again disagreed.

“The U.S. Supreme Court and the Ohio Supreme Court have both affirmed the death penalty does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment,” Warren said.

Church, 26, is accused of beating Debra Henderson to death on Aug. 16 during a robbery inside her house at 619 Woodward Ave.

Warren also denied a request by the defense to close future pretrial hearings to the media. The judge granted a defense request to allow Church to appear at all future hearings in civilian clothing.

A trial on the charges is set to begin in May, according to court records.

Judge won't throw out death penalty in beating death

Judge won't throw out death penalty in beating death
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