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Ohio man given death sentence for 1983 slaying seeks mercy, says co-defendant was shooter

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CLEVELAND — A man sentenced to death for a Cleveland produce vendor's 1983 slaying should be granted mercy partly because a second defendant repeatedly admitted being the shooter, defense attorneys argued in a clemency application Thursday.

Attorneys for Arthur Tyler also alleged that a jury was coerced into issuing a death sentence and that a prosecutor and some of Tyler's defense attorneys at trial had a conflict of interest.

"The unfairness in the proceedings has plagued this case for decades," the defense request to the state parole board says.

A spokesman for the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office said the prosecutor had no comment Thursday but the office plans to file a statement next week with the board. The board makes a recommendation to the governor, who has the final say on whether to grant clemency.

Tyler, 54, is scheduled to be put to death May 28.

His attorneys contend in the clemency application that a second man imprisoned in the case was responsible for the shooting and confessed to multiple people but falsely testified against Tyler in court.

Prosecutors blocked efforts to have the co-defendant present the true version of events under oath before a judge, the defense said. And the man was released from prison nearly six years ago, according to the clemency application.

Tyler's attorneys are arguing in a separate lawsuit that he has health problems that put him at risk of suffering during lethal injection. Tyler has a history of heart problems and diabetes and risk factors including high blood pressure, breathing difficulties and being overweight, according to the complaint filed in federal court in Columbus earlier this month.

The complaint argues that lethal injection drugs would amount to cruel and unusual punishment. The drugs are the only execution method under Ohio law.

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