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Ohio Parole Board Denies Clemency, But Execution Still Uncertain

A public defender for Tibbetts says they are disappointed more members of the board weren't swayed by the "impact of Ray's traumatic upbringing on his development."

Ohio's parole board has denied clemency for a death row inmate, but that execution remains in limbo because of a recent federal court ruling. 

The parole board on Friday ruled against clemency for 59-year-old Raymond Tibbetts. He was convicted of killing his wife and a man in separate incidents in the Cincinnati area on the same day in 1997.

Attorneys for Tibbetts tried to persuade the board for mercy because of what they called a traumatic and chaotic childhood. Prosecutors said his upbringing doesn’t outweigh the brutality of his crimes.

Despite the green light from the parole board, Tibbetts’ execution is still not a sure thing.

A federal judge in January sided with Tibbetts and two other death row inmates by ruling a sedative used in Ohio executions amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. The drug has caused complications in some other executions.

The judge also barred the state from using drugs that paralyze inmates and stop their hearts.

The ruling, which Ohio is currently appealing, put Tibbetts' execution on hold, although the state still lists his execution date as July 26. The other inmates who joined his legal challenge have listed execution dates of May 10 and June 13.