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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

Ohio Parole Board: Cincinnati killer still deserves death penalty even after juror sought mercy

Raymond Tibbetts
COLUMBUS - The Ohio Parole Board ruled that Raymond Tibbetts, convicted of killing two people in Over-the-Rhine, still deserved the death penalty – even after an 11th-hour plea from a juror for mercy.

The board, in an 8-1 vote, did not recommend clemency for Tibbetts to Gov. John Kasich, according to a report released Friday. Kasich will soon decide whether to continue with Tibbetts' execution, which is set for Oct. 17.

The board gave 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.

Tibbetts was sentenced to death for beating his wife, Sue Crawford, to death and fatally stabbing his landlord, Fred Hicks, on the same day in 1997. Geiger told The Enquirer that he had no doubts Tibbetts committed those murders. 

Even so, Geiger said he might not have recommended the death penalty if he had known about how Tibbetts had been abused as a child, put into foster care as a toddler and endured years of abuse and neglect, along with his siblings. That information was not presented before sentencing, Geiger said. 

Kasich delayed Tibbetts' execution after receiving the letter. But on Friday, the Ohio Parole Board found that evidence of Tibbetts' childhood would not have outweighed the heinous crime – even if Geiger and other jurors had all the details.

One member disagreed, saying "the defense did not fully present the scope of the childhood abuse suffered by Tibbetts and the long-term impact of that abuse." Tibbetts attorney, Erin Barnhart, said the parole board's decision would "irreparably damage the integrity of our criminal justice system."  

Mark Hicks, the nephew of victim Fred Hicks, expressed surprise and frustration that Geiger was able to delay the execution at all.

"It is absolutely unbelievable to my family and I that we are back here considering clemency for Raymond Tibbetts AGAIN because a juror was surfing the Internet one night," Hicks wrote, pleading for Kasich to go forward with the execution.

Source: cincinnati.com, Jessie Balmert, June 22, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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