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July 20, 2018

Following execution, Ohio Gov John Kasich closes his capital record with commuted death sentence and reprieve

As reported in this local article, "Ohio Gov. John Kasich spared death row inmate Raymond Tibbetts, who was convicted of killing his wife and landlord in Cincinnati more than two decades ago." Here is more on a (surprising?) decision, which was one of two notable capital changes today:

Kasich — going against the recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board — said that there were "fundamental flaws" in sentencing Tibbetts.  Jurors didn't learn about Tibbett's background as a neglected and abused child. Kasich commuted Tibbetts' sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Tibbetts had been set to be executed Oct. 17.

Tibbetts had been sentenced to death for beating his wife, Sue Crawford, to death and fatally stabbing his landlord, Fred Hicks, on the same day in 1997 in Over-the-Rhine.

The Ohio Parole Board had given Tibbetts' case a second look after a former juror, Ross Geiger of Loveland, wrote a letter to Kasich, expressing concern that jurors didn't know more about Tibbett's background before sentencing him to death.  But the parole board voted 8-1 against clemency.

Kasich disagreed. In a news release, the governor explained that "the defense’s failure to present sufficient mitigating evidence, coupled with 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."

This press release from Gov Kasich's office also reports that "Gov. John R. Kasich granted a reprieve to delay the execution of Cleveland Jackson" with this accounting for this decision:

Cleveland Jackson was convicted for the 2002 murder of 17-year-old Leneshia Williams and three-year-old Jayla Grant in Lima.  The reprieve will delay his execution until May 29, 2019 to allow his newly appointed legal counsel sufficient time to review the case and properly prepare for his clemency hearing before the Parole Board.  Jackson’s previous court-appointed counsel withdrew their representation just 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.

With this commutation and reprieve, which follow an execution earlier this week which was Ohio's 15th execution during Gov Kasich's two terms in office, I believe Gov Kasich has closed out his capital record because there a now no more executions scheduled during his remaining time in office. (Interestingly, Ohio Gov Robert Taft presided over 24 executions from 1998 to 2006, and Ohio Gov Ted Strickland presided over 17 execution from 2007 to 2010.)

July 20, 2018 at 12:06 PM | Permalink


This swamp creature needs to be primaried. Rid the Republican Party of this person. He needs to register as a Democrat, the pro-criminal, pro-lawyer rent seeking party. .

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 20, 2018 10:00:49 PM

Kudos to John Kasich, for having the courage to exercise the power of commutation granted to him by the people of Ohio.

Posted by: Emily | Jul 22, 2018 5:53:52 PM

I agree with Emily. Kasich is a straight shooter. While I may disagree with any particular decision he makes, I know that he acts from conviction and principle after studing the record. He is an honest man. Compare and contrast the snake-oil salesman, prevaricator in chief, and Russian toady, who now brings this great country into disrepute with every lie he utters, with evey p...he grabs, with every hooker he pays to silence, and with every traitorous act he commits to protect himself and his family from the Russian Kompromat.

Posted by: Dave from Texas | Jul 22, 2018 6:00:45 PM

Dave. Like calm down, already. You are a little upset by the election of 2016. Enjoy the rising value of your assets. Trump had the best first year of any President in history.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 24, 2018 12:14:16 PM

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