Ohio Stabber Gets Reprieve Days Ahead of Execution

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) — The Ohio governor granted a six-month reprieve Thursday to a death-row inmate who had been scheduled to face lethal injection on Feb. 13.

Delaying the execution of Raymond Tibbetts until Oct. 17, Gov. John Kasich directed the Ohio Parole Board to review a letter from Ross Geiger who had been a juror at the Tibbetts trial in 1997.

Geiger said he would not have recommended putting Tibbetts to death if he had known then about certain mitigating evidence that the defense team failed to present at the time.

Kasich’s reprieve came just over a week after the Sixth Circuit refused to block Tibbetts’ execution over concerns about the possibility that Ohio’s three-drug execution protocol is cruel and unusual.

Tibbetts was sentenced to death for the 1997 stabbing of Fred Hicks in Cincinnati. He was also sentenced to life in prison for stabbing and beating his 42-year-old wife Judith Crawford to death.

Erin Barnhart, an attorney for Tibbetts, applauded Kasich’s intervention.  “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,” Barnhart said in a statement.

Once the Ohio Parole Board considers this new information, Barnhart added, “we are confident that … the board and the governor will agree that clemency is appropriate to correct the failures in the legal process in this case.”

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