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Death-Row Inmate Spared After Hellish Childhood Is Revealed

Raymond Tibbetts has Gov. John Kasich to thank
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2018 6:00 AM CDT
This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Raymond Tibbetts, who was sentenced to death after he was convicted of fatally stabbing Fred Hicks in 1997...   (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Friday spared a condemned killer whose sentence was challenged after a juror came forward and said information about the extent of the inmate's tough childhood wasn't properly presented at trial. The Republican governor commuted the sentence of death row inmate Raymond Tibbetts to life without the possibility of parole, citing "fundamental flaws" in the sentencing portion of Tibbetts' trial. "Specifically, the defense's failure to present sufficient mitigating evidence, coupled with an inaccurate description of Tibbetts' childhood by the prosecution, essentially prevented the jury from making an informed decision," Kasich said. The guilt of Tibbetts, 61, has never been in doubt, reports the AP. He received the death sentence for stabbing Fred Hicks to death at Hicks' Cincinnati home in 1997.

Tibbetts also received life imprisonment for fatally beating and stabbing his wife, 42-year-old Judith Crawford, during an argument that same day over Tibbetts' crack cocaine habit. The 67-year-old Hicks had hired Crawford as a caretaker and allowed the couple to stay with him. The case against Tibbetts seemed closed until a former juror, Ross Geiger, came across materials presented on Tibbetts' behalf to the Ohio Parole Board that documented horrific facts about Tibbetts' early years, which jurors never heard. When Tibbetts was a boy, he and his brothers were tied to a single bed at night, were not fed properly, were thrown down stairs, had their fingers beaten with spatulas and were burned on heating registers, according to Tibbetts' application for mercy last year.

(Read more death row stories.)

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