A man who was sent to Death Row 40 years ago for killing an auxiliary Columbus police sergeant is facing his seventh felony case since his parole
, 57, was scheduled for trial this week in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on two counts of robbery, but his public defender is raising questions about his competency.
There were no such questions in 1970, when a jury found Anderson guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 45-year-old auxiliary Sgt. Lawrence V. Kipfinger during a robbery at a North Side convenience store.
Anderson was sentenced to die in the electric chair, but the Ohio Supreme Court set that aside
in 1972. The ruling changed the sentence to life in prison
, making Anderson eligible for parole in 20 years. He got out sooner because of good behavior.
Two of Kipfinger's sons told The Dispatch this week that they didn't know that Anderson had been paroled and in and out of prison for a variety of crimes in the past two decades.
"I'm not very happy about it," said Lawrence M. Kipfinger, 62, of Coshocton. "I knew they dropped the death penalty, but if you are sentenced to life, you should never get out of prison. And if you get out and commit other crimes, you should go back for life."
Anderson's first arrest after his parole was for robbery in 1991. A jury acquitted him. Since then, he has been back behind bars for the following stretches:
• Five years for a 1994 theft conviction.
• Six months for a 2000 receiving-stolen-property conviction.
• Three years for 2001 robbery and aggravated-assault convictions.
• Forty days for a 2005 receiving-stolen-property conviction.
• Three years for a 2006 robbery conviction.
He was released from his most-recent prison stay in July and was still on parole when he was arrested in October. A 28-year-old woman told police that Anderson punched her in the face at W. Rich Street and S. Central Avenue when she confronted him for taking a cell phone and purse from her car.
Anderson is back in the county jail. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Common Pleas Court to consider his competency. Prosecutors plan to contest a Netcare psychologist's finding that Anderson is incapable of understanding the case against him or assisting in his defense because of mental retardation and severe mental illness.
The incompetency claim sounds like a fancy way of escaping responsibility, said Thomas Kipfinger of Westerville, who was 19 when Anderson killed his father. "To keep paroling him doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me."
Anderson, who was 16 at the time of the slaying, was bound over to be tried as an adult. The jury determined that he intentionally killed Kipfinger, convicting the teen of first-degree murder and recommending "no mercy." He arrived at the Ohio Penitentiary as the youngest inmate on Death Row.
The Ohio Supreme Court changed the sentence after ruling that the trial judge did not properly question prospective jurors about their views on capital punishment.
An 18-year-old, unarmed accomplice was tried separately and sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in 1986 and has since led a law-abiding life.