March 18: Former Ohio Death Row Inmate to Discuss Capital Punishment at ODU Presentation

Father Neil Kookoothe and Joe D'Ambrosio


Columbus, OH – Ohio Dominican University (ODU) welcomes former death row inmate Joe D’Ambrosio and Father Neil Kookoothe to share their powerful experiences and insights during “The Death Penalty in Our Penal System.” This free event is scheduled for 3:30-5 p.m., March 18, in the Colonial Room, located in Sansbury Hall on ODU’s main campus at 1216 Sunbury Road, Columbus, 43219. This presentation is co-sponsored by ODU’s Center for Dominican Studies and the Office of Academic Affairs. To register, contact the Center at 614-251-4722 or 

D’Ambrosio, an army veteran, was convicted of murder in 1988 and sat on Ohio’s death row for 22 years. Kookoothe is the pastor of St. Clarence Church in Cleveland and a civil lawyer who advocates for an end to capital punishment. He met D’Ambrosio in 1998. After reading the case’s court transcripts, Kookoothe worked with D’Ambrosio and attorneys to challenge the conviction. In 2010, D’Ambrosio became the sixth person on Ohio’s death row to be exonerated. 

“More than two decades of Joe D’Ambrosio’s life were spent behind bars,” said Sr. Mattie Sterner, O.P., director of the Center for Dominican Studies. “We look forward to hearing Joe’s story and how his close relationship with Father Kookoothe helped save his life and correct an injustice. Their example is both complex and profound, and will offer unique insight as we discuss capital punishment in today’s justice system.” 

Ohio Dominican University is a comprehensive, four-year, private, liberal arts and master’s institution, founded in 1911 in the Catholic Dominican tradition. The University has approximately 2,600 students and offers undergraduate degrees in 45 majors as well as 11 graduate degree programs. Ohio Dominican uses a student-centered approach, with a commitment to quality teaching and learning.