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Ohio Parole Board review doesn't change recommendation that convicted Cincinnati killer should die

Gov. Kasich asked board to reconsider
Posted: 11:16 AM, Jun 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-22 17:26:20Z

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Parole Board reviewed the case of a convicted Cincinnati killer on death row but did not change its recommendation that Raymond Tibbetts should be executed.

The Parole Board took a second look at Tibbetts' case at the request of Gov. John Kasich, who delayed Tibbetts’ execution in February, citing a letter the governor received from a Cincinnati juror who said Tibbetts' trial was flawed and asked that Tibbetts be spared.

At the June 14 review hearing, juror Ross Geiger said he would not have voted for the death penalty if he had known the horrible conditions of Tibbetts' childhood. Under Ohio law, Geiger's single vote for a life sentence would have prevented the death penalty.

Nevertheless, the Parole Board voted 8-1 against recommending clemency for Tibbetts, according to a report issued Friday.  The parole board originally voted 11-1 in January 2017 against mercy for Tibbetts.

Kasich will have the final say on Tibbetts’ fate and could still commute his death sentence for the 1997 aggravated murder of another Cincinnati man, Fred Hicks. The governor had delayed Tibbetts’ execution until Oct. 17.

In his Jan. 30 letter.  Geiger told Kasich he believed he and other jurors were misled by attorneys about the “truly terrible conditions” of Tibbetts’ upbringing.

“After reviewing the material, from the perspective of an original juror, I have deep concerns about the trial and the way it transpired,” Geiger wrote to the governor. “This is why I am asking you to be merciful.”

Geiger said jurors weren't told about Tibbetts' claims that he and his brothers were tied to a single bed at the foster home, weren’t fed properly, were thrown down stairs, had their fingers beaten with spatulas and were burned on heating registers. He said he didn't learn about it until he started researching the case on the internet and found it in Tibbetts’ application for mercy last year.

Philip Cummings, Hamilton County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, reminded the Parole Board that in his interview, Tibbetts himself said he was not deserving of clemency. 

READ both sides' testimony at the hearing

Prosecutors have argued that Tibbetts’ background doesn’t outweigh his crimes.

Tibbetts, then 40, stabbed Hicks, 67, to death at Hicks’ home in 1997. Tibbetts also received life imprisonment for fatally beating and stabbing his wife, 42-year-old Judith Crawford, during an argument that same day over Tibbetts’ crack cocaine habit.

Hicks had hired Crawford as a caretaker and allowed the couple to stay with him.