Ohio set to execute man who killed 3 sleeping sons

Reginald Brooks
AP Photo, file
Ohio to execute Reginald Brooks who killed 3 sleeping sons
Reginald Brooks
AP Photo, file

(CBS/WOIO/AP) COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio is set to execute 66-year-old Reginald Brooks, who fatally shot his three sons while they slept in 1982 shortly after his wife filed for divorce.

State and federal courts have rejected attorneys' arguments that Brooks, of East Cleveland, is not mentally competent and that the government withheld relevant evidence that could have affected Brooks' case.

The Ohio Supreme Court on Monday rejected Brooks' request to halt the execution.

According to CBS affiliate WOIO, the defense contends Brooks is a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered from mental illness long before he shot his 11-, 15- and 17-year-old sons in the head as they slept at their East Cleveland home on a Saturday morning.

The defense says Brooks believed his co-workers and wife were poisoning him and that he maintains his innocence, offering conspiracy theories about the killings that involve police, his relatives and a look-alike.

Prosecutors acknowledge Brooks is mentally-ill but dispute the notions that it caused the murders or makes him incompetent. They say he planned merciless killings, bought a revolver two weeks in advance, confirmed he'd be home alone with the boys,  and targeted them when they wouldn't resist. He also fled on a bus with a suitcase containing a birth certificate and personal items that could help him start a new life.

WOIO reports that Brooks was taken Monday to the prison in Lucasville, where the execution would happen. He is scheduled to die at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

He would be the oldest person put to death since Ohio resumed executions in 1999.