Ohio House approves death penalty 'mental illness' bill

Christopher Lee Price was convicted of the 1991 murder of minister Bill Lynn. (Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice/MGN Online)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio House has approved a bill prohibiting the executions of defendants if they're found to have had a "serious mental illness" at the time of the offense.

Offenders deemed by professionals to have had "serious mental illness" must have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or delusional disorder.

The bill approved Wednesday has bipartisan support and support from mental health advocacy groups. Those groups include the Ohio Psychological Association, the Ohio Psychiatric Physician's Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio.

Inmates who are on death row would be able to petition for resentencing, if they had a "serious mental illness" at the time of the crime.

Prosecutors in Ohio have opposed the legislation. The measure goes next to the Senate.

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