Executions · Famous Last Words · Ohio

FLW: executions are not a deterrent

Famous Last Words
James Filiaggi
Ohio
April 24, 2007

“I know I flipped some worlds upside down. For me, it’s fine, but the state needs to learn this ain’t the answer. This is no deterrent to crime. Some are falsely convicted, railroaded. The state needs to wake up. Maybe they will follow the Europeans. God is the only one who knows.”

Filiaggi was convicted of murdering his ex-wife, Lisa Huff. The couple had been married for only 9 months, from December 1991 to August 1992 when she filed for divorce; Lisa became engaged in the fall 1993. Filiaggi reportedly called his ex-wife and her fiancé repeatedly, harassing them and vandalizing their property. He was charged with intimidation and vandalism two days before he purchased a pistol, took out a $1000 cash advance on his credit card, and left approximately $600-$700 with his girlfriend, Tracey.

On January 24, 1994, Filiaggi attempted to break down Lisa’s back door, so she dialed 911. When he managed to kick the door open, she fled with the phone to her neighbor’s home. Filiaggi kicked the neighbor’s door down as well, found Lisa hiding in a closet, told her “This will teach you to fuck with me,” and shot her twice. Injured, she fled the closet to a bedroom where Filiaggi shot her twice more, killing her (at least one report states Filiaggi dragged Lisa into a bathroom to shoot her execution-style). He then fled the house to Lisa’s stepfather’s home and attempted to shoot him as well. The stepfather was able to spray Filiaggi in the face with pepper spray and seek refuge in a neighbor’s home before calling 911.

Filiaggi’s defense team attempted an insanity defense, claiming a poor diet led to his violent outbursts. At the time, this defense was somewhat popular and nicknamed the “Twinkie Defense” after the 1979 trail of Dan White who claimed junk food altered his state of mind. The defense worked for White, who had assassinated Mayor George Mascone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. White’s charge of premeditated murder was reduced to voluntary manslaughter. Filiaggi’s attempt was obviously not as successful.

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