Ohio Gov. Delays Execution of Convicted Murderer When Juror Writes Letter Asking for Mercy

Raymond Tibbetts was convicted in 1997.
Ohio Dept. of Corrections

 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has delayed the execution of a killer after a juror wrote seeking mercy 20 years after condemning the man to die.

Raymond Tibbetts was convicted in 1997 of beating and stabbing to death his wife, Judith Crawford, as well as killing the couple's landlord, Fred Hicks, who had been stabbed 12 times.

Tibbetts was scheduled to be executed Tuesday by lethal injection. But that date was pushed back to October after Kasich read a letter by juror Ross Geiger that appeared this week in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. 

Geiger said he was moved to write after learning that Tibbetts had been abused and abandoned as a child.That information, brought forward last year by Tibbetts' attorneys during a clemency hearing, was not introduced at trial.

"I had faith in the system in which I made my vote for death, but Ohio's criminal justice system failed me and Mr. Tibbetts," Geiger wrote. "I urge Gov. Kasich to show mercy by exercising his power of clemency to commute Mr. Tibbetts' sentence of death."

Kasich said Thursday he wanted to give the Ohio Parole Board time to consider whether the juror's letter justified sparing Tibbetts' life. 

In 2017, the board voted 11-1 to reject Tibbetts' request for clemency. His attorneys presented a portrait of a man whose childhood was filled with abuse, neglect and abandonment by his mother. He later lived in one abusive foster home after another, they said. 

Geiger said he and other jurors did not hear all of that evidence during the penalty phase of Tibbetts' trial. Geiger's letter did not question Tibbetts' guilt, but whether his childhood abuse constituted a mitigating factor that would have spared him the death penalty.

State and federal appeals courts have previously rejected claims that Tibbetts' childhood justified a lesser sentence, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 

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