Governor John Kasich today granted a reprieve in the scheduled execution of Raymond Tibbetts, who was set to die next Tuesday, Feb. 13. His execution has been rescheduled for Oct. 17, 2018.
One of the original jurors in the case recently wrote a letter
to Kasich asking him to commute Tibbetts' death sentence to life in prison without parole. The juror, Ross Geiger, argued that, given what he knows now about possible malpractice by Tibbetts' trial attorneys, the man's difficult upbringing and an opioid addiction developed as an adult, he wouldn't have voted to send Tibbetts to the death chamber.
The delay announced today will allow the Ohio Parole Board to hear new evidence on Tibbetts' clemency request. The board had originally recommended to deny it.
In a statement, Tibbetts' attorney Erin Barnhart said:
"Governor Kasich acted in the interests of fairness and justice by recognizing new information provided by a juror from Mr. Tibbetts’ trial merits careful additional consideration. Because a juror from the original trial recently revealed flaws in the proceedings, there is now incontrovertible proof that Mr. Tibbetts never would have ended up on death row had the system functioned properly. This juror—whose single vote for life would have made Mr. Tibbetts ineligible for the death penalty under Ohio law—was shocked when he saw evidence that Mr. Tibbetts’ abuse and abandonment continued throughout his childhood, even once the State placed him in foster care. The juror also learned that this horrible environment had devastating consequences for all of the Tibbetts children. Even more, Tibbetts’ severe addiction problems were not fully addressed, particularly in regard to the dangers of prescribing opioids to people with a history of addiction. Mr. Tibbetts’ attorneys failed to present this evidence at trial and the prosecutor misstated the facts. Juror Geiger's view of the case provides compelling reasons for the exercise of the Governor’s reprieve power to allow the Ohio Parole Board to convene a hearing to consider this new information. We are confident that after doing so, the Board and the Governor will agree that clemency is appropriate to correct the failures in the legal process in this case. Governor Kasich has done our State a great service today by ensuring that careful consideration is given to this new information.”