Execution delayed over juror concerns


Associated Press

COLUMBUS

Gov. John Kasich on Thursday delayed the execution of a killer set to die next week, citing a letter he received from a juror who recommended death for the inmate at his trial 20 years ago but now believes he should be spared.

The Republican Kasich issued a reprieve for Raymond Tibbetts that pushed his Feb. 13 execution forward to mid-October.

Kasich wants the Ohio Parole Board to consider a letter written by ex-juror Ross Geiger, who has said jurors weren’t given enough information about Tibbetts’ tough childhood.

The parole board voted 11-1 last year against mercy for Tibbetts.

In the Jan. 30 letter, Geiger said he believes he and other jurors were misled 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 in a letter to the governor.

When Tibbetts was a boy, he and his brothers were tied to a single bed at night, weren’t fed properly, were thrown down stairs, had their fingers beaten with spatulas and were burned on heating registers, according to Tibbetts’ application for mercy last year.

Geiger, of suburban Cincinnati, said he was relieved the governor paid attention to such an important issue.

Since “the issue was important enough for me to send a letter, then it has to be important enough for me to follow through with the parole board if they ask,” Geiger told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Tibbetts, 60, was sentenced to die for stabbing Fred Hicks to death at Hicks’ home in 1997. Tibbetts also received life imprisonment for fatally beating and stabbing his wife, 42-year-old Judith Crawford, in an argument that same day over Tibbetts’ crack cocaine habit.

The 67-year-old Hicks had hired Crawford as a caretaker and allowed the couple to stay with him.

Kasich acted in the interest of fairness and justice, Erin Barnhart, a federal public defender representing Tibbetts, said Thursday.

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