Juror Concerns Prompt Ohio Execution Delay

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Ohio murderer Raymond Tibbetts will get a second chance to avoid execution because one of the jurors from his trial is having second thoughts about his death sentence, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. Tibbetts, who was scheduled to die Tuesday by lethal injection, got a reprieve Thursday from Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Kasich said he wanted to give Tibbetts another hearing before the Ohio Parole Board to consider whether the juror’s concerns justify sparing his life. Kasich moved Tibbetts’ execution date to Oct. 17 to give the board more time. The juror, Ross Geiger, said jurors did not get to hear evidence about Tibbetts’ life and history that could have changed their decision to recommend the death penalty. At his clemency hearing last year, Tibbetts’ lawyers argued that he suffered abuse, neglect and abandonment as a child.

“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 in a column published this week in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I urge Gov. Kasich to show mercy by exercising his power of clemency to commute Mr. Tibbetts’ sentence of death.” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, whose office sought a death sentence for Tibbetts, said he understands the governor’s decision to delay, but he believes the original sentence should stand. “It’s pretty serious business when you’re going to execute someone,” Deters said. “It’s frustrating for a lot of people, but the reality is this: If the governor has questions, it’s his job to stop it.” Tibbetts was convicted of killing his wife and landlord in 1997.

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