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Ohio Gov. Kasich commutes death penalty for convicted killer Tibbetts

By
Sommer Brokaw
Raymond Tibbetts' life has been spared after an Ohio governor commuted his death sentence Friday. Photo courtesy Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections
Raymond Tibbetts' life has been spared after an Ohio governor commuted his death sentence Friday. Photo courtesy Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

July 21 (UPI) -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich spared Raymond Tibbetts' life Saturday by commuting his death sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Tibbetts was convicted of killing his wife Judith Crawford and landlord Fred Hicks in 1997 in Cincinnati. Both had been stabbed multiple times and Crawford was struck several times with a baseball bat.

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Tibbetts was scheduled to be executed on Oct. 17 after Kasich delayed an earlier execution date over a juror's concerns the jury wasn't informed of Tibbett's abuse-filled childhood and drug addiction during his trial 20 years ago.

Kasich's office cited "fundamental flaws in sentencing phase of his trial," as the reason for commuting the death sentence in a statement regarding his decision Friday. In particular, "an inaccurate description of Tibbetts's childhood by the prosecution, essentially prevented the jury from making an informed decision about whether Tibbetts deserved the death penalty," the office said.

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On Friday, Kasich also granted a reprieve to delay the execution of Cleveland Jackson, who was scheduled to be executed on Sept. 13, to May 29, 2019.

Jackson was convicted of killing two people in 2002 in Lima: 17-year-old Leneshia Williams and 3-year-old Jayla Grant. The reprieve will delay his execution until next May to allow his newly appointed legal counsel sufficient time to review the case and prepare for a clemency hearing.

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"Jackson's previous court-appointed counsel withdrew their representation four months prior to his initially scheduled execution after admitting that they failed to do any work to prepare his clemency application over the course of the previous four years," the governor's office said.

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