According to the recreation of events done by the court later on, this is what happened on the night of February 7, 1991. Tami Engstrom felt sick and took off early from her job in Hubbard, Ohio. She headed to Masury, where she met her uncle Daniel Hivner at the Nickelodeon Lounge. "Engstrom consumed several alcoholic drinks," as the appellate brief dryly states, before Mr. Kenneth Biros showed up an hour after she arrived. She wanted to drive home around 1AM, but Uncle Daniel took her keys and insisted she not drive drunk. He knew Biros a little, trusted him enough to accept his offer to take Tami out for coffee to help sober her up and then bring her back to the bar. Daniel Hivner waited for hours but the two never returned. Despite the fact that Tami was married, he headed home, assuming that Biros had taken care of her.
He had, but not in the way that her uncle had in mind. The next day Andy Engstrom, Tami's husband, went to see Kenneth to ask where his wife was. Biros told an unlikely story: Tami had flipped out when they were driving to get coffee in the not-too-distant town of Sharon, Pennsylvania. According to what he told Andy, other friends and neighbors, and eventually the police, Tami had been passed out in his car until he began to withdraw money in Sharon, when she woke up, demanded to be taken back to the Nickelodeon, and opened the door and took off running across people's lawns on Davis Street. The cut over his eye and cuts and scratches on his hands he explained away as injuries he'd gotten in two different indicents. First, he cut his eye while chopping wood, and the hands had gotten sliced up while climbing through a broken window after he locked himself out of his home. He stuck to this story even when his mother, with whom he lived, found Tami Engstrom's ring on the bathroom floor of their house.
It turned out that Biros had invited Tami Engstrom to see the "cabin" in his back yard. The cabin turned out to be an ordinary concrete shed in the middle of the woods behind the house. Once he got her into the woods he tried to rape her, then killed her by beating and stabbing her; the coroner determined that she suffered ninety-one injuries and stab wounds before she died, including at least five knife wounds after she was dead. The blood on his clothes and shoes, as well as in the woods behind the house, would help convict him. He carried her body in his car to desolate fields in Pennsylvania and tried to dispose of it, but was under arrest just two days later.
Late in that year, Kenneth Biros went to trial for four felony counts related to the murder of Tami Engstrom: Aggravated murder with two specifications of aggravating circumstances, felonious sexual penetration, aggravated robbery, and attempted rape. Found guilty on all counts, Biros received the death penalty, and now awaits Ohio's lethal injection pending several appeals, inmate number 249514 at the Mansfield Correctional Facility. He is in his late forties.
Biros was moved to Southern Correctional in Lucasville as his execution date nears; it looks to be the first of Ted Strickland's administration. The same day the governor denied him clemency (March 16, 2007--just four days before his scheduled DOE), the US Supreme Court issued a stay in order to allow Biros's attorneys to make their case for death by lethal injection constituting cruel and unusual punishment.
Special thanks to Tom for the excellent photographs and up-to-date information on the condition of the house.