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Waterloo man executed in Ohio


– Ohio executed a northeast Indiana man Wednesday for the fatal shooting of an adult bookstore security guard at the end of a multistate crime rampage in 1994 as witnesses of a second slaying victim of the same rampage looked on intently.

Frederick Treesh received a single powerful dose of pentobarbital and was pronounced dead at 10:37 a.m. by Donald Morgan, warden of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

Treesh was sentenced to die for killing Henry Dupree in Eastlake, Ohio, east of Cleveland, on Aug. 27, 1994. He and a co-defendant were suspects in the shooting death three days earlier of Ghassan Danno, a Livonia, Mich., video store co-owner.

Prosecutors say Treesh, 48, and Benjamin Brooks robbed banks and businesses, committed sexual assaults, stole cars, committed carjackings and shot someone to death in a Michigan robbery during a series of crimes that also took them to Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“This is where drugs lead you,” Treesh, a former cocaine addict, said in a last statement.

Treesh, a Waterloo native, said in a 1995 interview with The Journal Gazette that he felt numb at the time of the crimes and had a constant need for cocaine.

He said, at the time, it was cocaine that made him irrational enough to participate in the rampage and the need for more of the drug that led him to rob and kill.

Treesh was 31 when he was arrested after a crime spree that took him and companions Brooks of New Haven and Keisha Harth of Waterloo across several states.

Four people were shot – two of whom died – during the spree. Treesh was sentenced to death March 2, 1995, for killing Dupree.

Before he was to be executed, Treesh apologized for the death of Dupree but said he wouldn’t say he was sorry to Danno’s family members, who sat a few feet away watching through a window. Treesh said he’d never been charged or tried in that slaying.

After a few more comments, Treesh said, “If you want me murdered, just say it.”

In the 1995 Journal Gazette interview, it was the Livonia slaying that he said he regretted.

He recalled walking into the store and back to the office. Based on his experience in past store robberies, Treesh expected to find one person. He was surprised to see two men there.

“You’ve already got a gun pointed at his head, you can’t turn back and say: ‘Oops, sorry,’ ” Treesh recalled.

Treesh said one of the men turned to the wall but he didn’t know what he was reaching for. Later, he realized the man was shutting the safe.

During a struggle, Treesh fired several shots, striking both men.

Brooks, 45, pleaded guilty to avoid the death sentence and is serving 40 years to life in prison. Harth received a prison sentence of seven to 25 years.

Treesh was the 50th inmate put to death by the state of Ohio since it resumed executions in 1999.