Member of jury who recommended death penalty for killer says they were misled about his upbringing

A juror who recommended the death penalty for a man who killed two people says the panel was misled about the "truly terrible conditions" of the inmate's upbringing.

Raymond Tibbetts was hit with the death sentence one year after the slaying of Fred Hicks at Hicks' home in Cincinnati on Nov. 5, 1997. Tibbetts is also serving a life sentence for fatally beating and stabbing wife Judith Crawford the same day. She was stabbed 21 times by Tibbetts, according to Newsweek.

Twenty years later, juror Ross Geiger has concerns about ending Tibbetts' life. He told the Ohio Parole Board on Thursday that he was "frankly upset" to read last year about Tibbetts' terrible childhood.

"It’s pretty unusual," the convicted killer's lawyer Erin Gallagher Barnhart told Newsweek earlier this year. "As far as something this late in the process where it’s really in the governor's hands, I haven’t found an analogous situation."

Tibbetts' execution is set for Oct. 17 after Gov. Kasich, who received a letter from Geiger, agreed to a delay. The parole board plans to issue its ruling later this month, but had voted 11-1 last year against mercy for Tibbetts.

The convicted killer claimed in an application for mercy that he and his brothers were tied to a single bed at night, were not fed properly and were thrown down stairs. He also said their fingers were beaten with spatulas and were burned on heating registers.

"It was like just a different story," Geiger said during the 86-minute appearance before the board in a rare follow-up clemency hearing on Thursday.

Geiger had said in an interview with Newsweek that he felt like he made the right decision "at the time."

"We were not given these facts to consider in the sentencing phase so had these facts been available, the weight I would have given to the mitigating circumstances would have been a lot heavier and I would have insisted at that point life imprisonment is the option," he told Newsweek.

Geiger said the only hints of the killer's childhood at trial came from a psychiatrist who spoke briefly to members of Tibbetts' family.

"I was just struck and frankly upset that information that was available was not even addressed, other than in very summary fashion," Geiger said.

Board members asked Geiger why jurors did not lean heavily on a full report from the human services department that included details of Tibbetts' childhood. He said they could have, but compared the task to receiving a textbook from a teacher with no explanations or instructions.

"Is it too much to ask for a juror to rely on attorneys to provide the information that was available?" Geiger said.

With News Wire Services

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