John Gillard Ohio Death Row
john gillard

John Gillard was sentenced to death by the State of Ohio for a double murder. According to court documents John Gillard brother was involved in an argument at a house party. Later that night the brother and John Gillard would return to the house party where he would shoot and kill two people and shoot and injure another. John Gillard would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.

Ohio Death Row Inmate List

John Gillard 2021 Information

Number A185473

DOB 11/26/1944

Gender Male Race White

Admission Date 06/19/1985

Institution Chillicothe Correctional Institution


John Gillard More News

On December 31, 1984, Timothy Hendricks held a New Year’s Eve party in his home at 213 Kennet Court, N.W., Canton.   Among the guests were Ronnie Postlethwaite, Denise Maxwell, Leroy Ensign, and defendant-appellee’s brother William Gillard.   During the party, there was a fight between Ensign and Gillard.   After Hendricks broke up the fight, William Gillard left.

The party ended between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m., January 1. Seven guests stayed the night, including Ensign, Postlethwaite and Maxwell.

Postlethwaite and Hendricks were both awakened by a gunshot outside.   Hendricks went back to sleep.   Postlethwaite got up and looked outside;  he saw William Gillard fire a second shot into the air from a handgun.   Postlethwaite tried unsuccessfully to wake Ensign.

The next thing Postlethwaite recalled was hearing the back door slammed open.   He heard heavy steps “[l]ike horses trampling” and then a shot was fired.

Someone grabbed Postlethwaite’s hair and pulled his head back.   His assailant put a gun against his temple, shot him, and threw him to the floor.   Postlethwaite then saw the gunman aim at Denise Maxwell’s head and fire, killing her.   Postlethwaite recognized the gunman as John Gillard.

Larry Beck, a neighbor, heard two gunshots between 3:00 and 3:30 a.m. At 4:15, he heard “at least two people” going towards 213 Kennet Court.   About twelve minutes later, he heard more gunshots and heard two men running away from 213 Kennet Court.

At approximately 4:50 a.m., Canton police officer Sheldon Godshall arrived.   Godshall asked Postlethwaite who had shot him.   Postlethwaite said, “Dirty John.” Godshall asked, “Dirty John who?” and Postlethwaite replied, “Dirty John Gillard.”   Another officer found Leroy Ensign’s body lying near the entrance of the house.

On January 4, Ronald Webb, his wife, and Donald Gorby were in the kitchen of Webb’s downstairs apartment in a two-family house in Wellsburg, West Virginia, when John Gillard came to the door.   Webb testified that Gorby introduced Gillard to him as “Butch Johnson.”   At Gillard’s request, Mrs. Webb cut Gillard’s hair.

While Gillard was there, Milton Smith, who lived upstairs with Gorby, entered the kitchen, saw Gillard, and said:  “Jesus Christ, I didn’t recognize you without the beard, Dirty John.” Smith and Gillard went upstairs.   They eventually came back down to the kitchen, where Smith told Webb “ * * * to keep him there and party with him and don’t let him go nowhere, don’t take him outside that house, don’t take him to no bars.”   Smith then left.

As they talked, Webb mentioned to Gillard that he had “read in the paper where his brother was in jail for shooting some people in Canton.”   Gillard replied:  “I pulled the trigger, my brother is taking the fall.”

Later that day, Webb had a dispute with Gillard and Gorby.   Webb threatened to go “to the law,” whereupon Gillard said, “I got to get out of here.”   Webb then reported Gillard’s presence to the Brooke County, West Virginia, sheriff’s office.   As a result, sheriff’s deputies and Wellsburg police went to the Webb residence and arrested Gillard.   Gillard identified himself to the arresting officers as “Butch Johnson.”

John Gillard was indicted for the aggravated murders of Denise Maxwell and Leroy Ensign, and for the attempted aggravated murder of Ronnie Postlethwaite.   In each of these three cases, two counts were returned:  one charging that the offense was committed with prior calculation and design, R.C. 2903.01(A), and one charging felony murder, R.C. 2903.01(B).  Each count of aggravated murder carried two death specifications:  one charging a course of conduct involving the purposeful killing of two or more people, R.C. 2929.04(A)(5);  and one charging murder coupled with aggravated burglary, R.C. 2929.04(A)(7).   A seventh count charged Gillard with aggravated burglary, R.C. 2911.11.

Gillard’s alibi defense consisted of testimony that he and Jerri Oney had been at the home of Tracy and Melissa Price between 10:30 p.m., December 31, and 4:30 a.m., January 1, and had gone directly from there to Oney’s house.   Oney and the Prices corroborated this account.   Gillard admitted going to Wellsburg and meeting Webb, but denied introducing himself as “Butch Johnson” and telling Webb that he had been “the trigger man.”   Gillard also denied that Mrs. Webb had cut his hair.

Gillard was convicted of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, and aggravated burglary in 1985.   The jury recommended death, which the trial court accepted and sentenced Gillard accordingly.   In 1987, however, the Ohio Court of Appeals vacated Gillard’s convictions due to prosecutorial misconduct and the trial judge’s failure to recuse himself.   See State v. Gillard, No. CA-6701, 1987 WL 5768 (Ohio Ct.App. Jan. 21, 1987).   The Ohio Supreme Court subsequently reversed this decision, affirmed all of Gillard’s convictions, and remanded the matter to the Ohio Court of Appeals to independently review his sentence.   See Gillard, 533 N.E.2d at 281-82.   The same panel of the Ohio Court of Appeals recused itself from reviewing Gillard’s sentence.   A new three-judge panel was selected and it affirmed Gillard’s death sentence.   See State v. Gillard, No. CA-6701, 1990 WL 94632 (Ohio Ct.App. June 25, 1990).

2 thoughts on “John Gillard Ohio Death Row

  1. Today, November 22, 2022, John Gillard passed away at the Franklin Medical Center following surgery for cancer. John had appointed me his next of kin. I was notified of his passing by both FMC and CCI’s warden’s office.

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