Attorneys Gary Crim and Andrew Avellano filed a reply brief with the Ohio Supreme Court on July 15 on behalf of James D. Worley, the convicted murderer of 20-year-old Sierah Joughin of Metamora, seeking the overturning of his convictions and death sentence in the case.
Crim and Avellano are seeking a new trial for Worley, claiming that the evidence presented at his 2016 trial was insufficient to lead to his convictions and subsequent sentence.
Worley was arrested on July 22, 2016, and later indicted by a Fulton County grand jury on 19 counts related to Joughin’s abduction and murder, including aggravated murder, kidnapping, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse.
Joughin disappeared July 19 while on an evening bicycle ride on Fulton County Road 6. Her body was found three days later in a shallow grave in a cornfield not far from the location of her abduction.
On March 27, 2018, Worley was found guilty of 17 of the 19 counts that he faced, and was sentenced to death. His June 3, 2019, execution date was delayed, and he currently remains on death row at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution.
Assertions made in the filing by attorneys Crim and Avellano include challenges that the prosecution failed to meet the standard of an aggravated murder charge, and that the DNA evidence presented was inconclusive as to its ownership.
Other faults listed included a jury tainted by pretrial publicity, and the mitigating factor of Worley’s mental health.