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September 23, 2011

Ohio board recommends clemency for murderer based on his "deprived history"

As detailed in this new local article, which is headlined "Parole board recommends governor spare life of convicted killer," the "Ohio Parole Board today unanimously recommended to Gov. John Kasich that he spare the life of convicted killer Joseph Murphy of Marion."  Here are the details:

By an 8-0 vote, the board concluded that Murphy, 46, should not be executed on Oct. 18 for the 1987 robbery and murder of Ruth Predmore, a 72-year-old widow from Marion. The board said Murphy’s “deprived history is not one previously seen” in Ohio capital punishment cases and that his abuse was “chronic and consistent from his own family."

“There is no evidence of consistent or meaningful love or support shown to this applicant during his entire existence,” the board concluded.

Kasich can use his executive clemency power to stop the execution, but he is not bound to honor the recommendation. Murphy also has an appeal pending as part of the ongoing lawsuit challenging Ohio’s lethal injection protocol.

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Herbert Brown and Predmore’s niece were among the witnesses who urged the board to grant clemency during a seven-hour hearing held last week.

Borderline mentally retarded, Murphy was beaten by his parents, starved, tied to a bed, raped and on one occasion left in a burning house. He spent time in a dozen mental hospitals and institutions before committing the crime that sent him to Death Row. His public defender attorneys noted that the life without parole sentencing option was unavailable when Murphy was tried and convicted.

Marion County Prosecutor Brent Yager and Brenda Leikala, of the Ohio attorney general's office argued that Murphy's upbringing, while tragic, did not outweigh the brutal circumstances of Predmore’s murder.

While robbing Predmore at knifepoint in her home on the night of Feb. 1, 1987, Murphy slashed the 5-foot, 120-pound woman from ear-to-ear, cutting so deep that he severed her jugular vein, esophagus and nicked her spinal cord. While his victim bled to death on the floor, Murphy stole her purse, credit cards, coat and a bowl of loose pennies.

September 23, 2011 at 01:54 PM | Permalink


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Kasich has shown himself already to be soft. He will likely commute this sentence.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 23, 2011 10:40:26 PM

I would be interested in hearing about sentencing case law about this more general idea. Not interested enough to do the research myself.

Extra-judicial suffering, punishment, negative consequences, should they be counted at sentencing?

I am a convicted arsonist. I suffered massive burn injuries, during my crime. Every day, for a year, nurses have to pull off dead scar tissue, with resulting torture grade pain and suffering. I have been hideously disfigured.

Any sentencing discount for this severe corporal punishment resulting from my crime directly? Would any discount be unfair to other non-injured arsonists?

I am a drunk driver convicted of vehicular homicide after slamming the passenger side containing my girlfriend into a tree. I was not wearing a seat belt, and flew through the windshield, suffering many bone fracture, flesh tearing. Any discount for these painful injuries? I have PTSD, and am in deep bereavement for my girlfriend. Any discounts?

Actual cases would be more helpful than philosophical discussions.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 24, 2011 7:44:16 AM

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