Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Sunday, August 7, 2016


            15-year-old Mark Klima was murdered by Mark Wayne Wiles in Rootstown, Ohio on August 7, 1985. Wiles was executed by lethal injection 27 years later on April 8, 2012. Let us hear from Klima’s cousin, John Craig and an article from Klima’s Aunt. We will not forget Mark Kilma and may he rest in peace. and we will not forget Mark Klima and may he rest in peace.


Mark Klima

Mark Wayne Wiles

Summary: In 1985, Mark Wayne Wiles burglarized the Klima family home and killed Mark Klima. In 1982, Wiles went to work as a part-time laborer for Charles and Carol Klima on their horse farm in Rootstown, where they lived with their son Mark. One day in early 1983, the family learned that $200 in cash was missing and the home had been ransacked. That same day, Wiles had reported for work and was the only other person on the farm that day, but he could not be found after the Klimas learned of the missing cash, and he did not return to collect his paycheck or for that matter return to work any longer on the farm. In the spring of that year, Wiles began serving a 4-to-25 year sentence in an Ohio prison for an unrelated burglary he had committed the previous year. On August 7, 1985, after serving eighteen months of this sentence, Wiles returned to the Klima farm, entered the unlocked house while the family was gone and began to search the house for valuables. While he was still in the house, 15-year-old Mark Klima returned and confronted him. Wiles stabbed the boy 24 times with a 12-inch kitchen knife, stole approximately $260 and fled. Carol Klima returned home to find her unconscious son lying on the floor with a knife buried in his back. Later that day, Mark Klima died in a hospital emergency room. Wiles initially fled from the authorities. Five days after the murder, however, he turned himself in to the police in Savannah, Georgia, telling them that he was wanted for murder in Ohio. After being informed of his rights, he told the police what he had done and signed a confession admitting that he had killed Mark. A state grand jury indicted Wiles for aggravated murder and two counts of aggravated burglary—one for the 1985 home invasion, one for the 1983 $200 theft. He waived his right to a jury, and a three-judge panel heard his case. After the guilt phase of the proceedings, the court determined that there was insufficient evidence that he had committed the 1983 burglary but convicted him on the aggravated-murder and the other aggravated-burglary count. After a mitigation hearing, the court determined that neither Wiles' youth (he was 22-years old at the time of the murder) nor his confession outweighed the aggravating circumstances of his crime. The court imposed a death sentence, and the Ohio Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and sentence. Mark Klima was a straight A student who was about to enter his sophomore year of high school. UPDATE: The Ohio Parole Board has unanimously rejected a clemency request from Mark Wiles. In a statement, members of te board wrote, “While Wiles does express remorse and admits to committing the offense, that remorse and acceptance of responsibility does not mitigate nor outweigh the brutal attack on a defenseless young man who was beaten and stabbed repeatedly in his own home. Wiles’ remorse, acceptance of responsibility and good institutional conduct do not equate to a substantial enough reason to recommend clemency.” Wiles was uncooperative during an interview with the state parole board earlier this month, telling members that he didn’t deserve clemency and refusing to answer questions. According to documents, “Wiles was noticeably nervous, emotional and seemed overwhelmed by the process. Wiles left the interview room. The board remained several minutes to see if he would change his mind, but prison staff informed the board that Wiles had chosen to leave the building.” Wiles's attorneys had a taped apology from Wiles sent to the family of the murder victim — a move parole board members criticized as insensitive. Mark Klima’s parents turned the recording over to prosecutors without watching it. 

John Craig, a cousin of Wiles' victim Mark Klima and a witness of the execution, appeared briefly before reporters to respond to Wiles' last words.

"It's my opinion that Mark Wiles gave up his citizenship to Ohio when he murdered my cousin and became an inmate, more or less a condemned man," Craig said.

AUTHOR: John Craig whose cousin, Mark Klima was murdered by Mark Wayne Wiles on August 7, 1985. Mark Wayne Wiles was executed by lethal injection in Ohio on April 18, 2012.


The other side of death-row inmate's story: Virginia Klima Petrie
By Plain Dealer guest columnist

on April 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM 

In his April 8 Forum article, the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, leader of the United Church of Christ, appeals to Gov. John Kasich to show mercy and commute the sentence of condemned killer Mark Wiles to life in prison. 

There are always two sides to every story. Unfortunately, if you murder the one person who can tell the story, we only hear one side. 

That doesn't seem fair. As the aunt of the victim, Mark Klima, allow me to represent that boy who was murdered by Wiles more than 25 years ago. I have personally been to the trial and the clemency hearing and will state the facts brought to light on both occasions. 

• Mark Wiles' mother asked Carol Klima to give her son a job on the Klima horse farm in Rootstown. Carol Klima did just that. 

• Mark Wiles was found in the Klima home more than once without permission while in her employ. She forgave him, yet he continued to abuse her trust. 

• Mark Wiles admitted to friends that he'd taken money, while abusing the trust this family extended to him and his family before he ever went to prison. 

• The Klima family never sought to bring charges against the teenager at that time. 

• Mark Wiles continued to steal from other families and was sent to prison for armed robbery.
• He was given from four to 25 years for this crime. 

• Eighteen months into that sentence, he was given "shock probation." He exhibited good behavior while in Mansfield Reformatory (now Mansfield Corrections). He also had at least one letter from people who knew him in years past. That one letter was written by his former employer, Carol Klima! 

• Eleven months later, he returned to that same farm, watched the adults leave the house early in the morning, and then went into the house, locked the doors behind him and began once again pilfering everything he could. 

• He stole money at that time, but, more importantly, he stole the life of their only son. He bludgeoned the boy in the living room of his own home because he knew the boy could identify him. 

• And then he ran away. 

• He denied being on the property when questioned, and he ran away again. 

• When he couldn't run any farther, because the money he stole ran out, he confessed to the crime and was brought back to Ohio to stand trial. 

• Mark Wiles was sentenced to die by a panel of three judges, as was his choice. 

• He has never wanted to appeal his sentence. 

• He has lived for more than 25 years longer than the life he snuffed out before the boy could come of age. 

I, too, am a practicing Christian. I, too, believe in a merciful and loving God. Regardless of my religion, I am a citizen in a country that is civilized and upholds its laws. When there are laws in place that govern our behavior, we are expected to abide by those laws. The court has repeatedly denied Mark Wiles clemency, for the above reasons and more. Perhaps it behooves Rev. Black to delve more deeply into his subject matter. 

Virginia Klima Petrie is Mark Klima's aunt.

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