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Sotomayor’s first vote sought to spare killer

Wed., Aug. 19, 2009, midnight

WASHINGTON – Newly seated Justice Sonia Sotomayor has cast her first recorded vote on the Supreme Court, joining three liberal justices in an unsuccessful effort to stop an execution in Ohio.

The full court turned down an appeal from lawyers for Jason Getsy late Monday evening by a 5-4 vote. Getsy, 33, a convicted hit man, was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday.

In a 1995 murder-for-hire plot, Getsy shot his intended target, Charles Serafino, seven times. Serafino survived, but his mother, Ann Serafino, was killed in the shooting.

Getsy’s lawyers argued he should be spared because other participants in the plot did not receive the death penalty.

Last month, the Ohio Parole Board had recommended sparing Getsy’s life on those grounds, but Gov. Ted Strickland disagreed on Friday.

The Supreme Court issued a two-line order Monday rejecting Getsy’s plea for a stay of execution. Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sotomayor dissented.

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