Noelle Washington and Mark Pickens met at work and began dating occasionally in fall 2008.
On May 31, 2009, Washington reported to Cincinnati police that Pickens had raped her, apparently after she had told him she planned to move to Tennessee where her sister lived. The next night, Washington, her 9-month-old son, and a 3-year-old girl Washington was babysitting were murdered.
Pickens was found guilty in April 2010 of the rape and aggravated murder of Washington and the aggravated murder of the two children. The court sentenced Pickens to death.
Pickens has exercised his right to appeal his convictions and death sentence directly to the Supreme Court. In his appeal, Pickens' attorneys have made 10 claims of legal and procedural error during his trial as grounds for the court to reverse his convictions and sentence.