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State Parole Board Holds Clemency Hearing For Ohio Killer Scheduled to Die in April

photo of clemency hearing
The parole board heard hours of testimony to decide the fate of Raymond Tibbetts.

A 59-year-old Cincinnati man is facing execution in April for stabbing the man who allowed Raymond Tibbetts and his wife to share his home. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports that the Ohio Parole Board heard hours of testimony on whether Tibbetts deserves mercy or should die.

In 1997, Raymond Tibbetts fatally stabbed 67-year-old Fred Hicks, described as sick, defenseless and hearing impaired. Tibbetts was also sentenced to life in prison for stabbing Hicks' caretaker, Judith Sue Crawford. But Tibbetts’ attorney Erin Barnhart said his abusive upbringing and drug addiction set him up to fail.

Raymond Tibbetts
Raymond Tibbetts is scheduled to die in April.

“The fact that he did fail doesn’t make him evil. He wasn’t born evil. And he’s not deserving of the worst punishment for that reason.”

But Hamilton County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Ronald Springman said Tibbetts’ brutal crimes speak for themselves.

“We don’t know what it was that caused him to do this. It could be pure evil. We don’t know. It very well could be pure evil.”

The Parole Board will issue a recommendation on clemency to the governor  on March 10.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.