Advocates Urge Governor Kasich to Grant Clemency for Upcoming February Execution of Raymond Tibbetts; Childhood Trauma, Opioid Addiction, and Failure of State Systems Seen in Next Ohio Execution.
New Death Penalty Documentary to Premier Across Ohio; “The Penalty” Features Botched Ohio Execution of Dennis McGuire; Highlights Continued Problems with Ohio’s Lethal Injection Procedure; Film Director, Lawyer Present for “Talk-backs”
Columbus, OH, January 17—As the controversy over executions continues and the Feb. 13 execution of Hamilton County defendant Ray Tibbetts approaches, Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) will host free public screenings of the new film, “The Penalty,” across the state from January 22 to January 28. The tour comes as Governor John Kasich has yet to decide whether to grant clemency in Tibbetts’ case. The statewide organization and its partners are calling attention to the role childhood trauma, opioid addiction, and untreated mental health problems played leading up to the 1997 murders of Judith Sue Crawford and Fred Hicks. OTSE has launched a petition drive in the case at OTSE.org.
“Ray Tibbetts survived horrific child abuse in his own home and in the foster care system, but he was able to pull himself together after years of addictive self-medication,” said Kevin Werner, executive director of Ohioans to Stop Executions. “He had a family and a job, but a workplace injury resulted in doctors prescribing opioids for his pain, despite his past addictions. You can draw a straight line from the opioids to the murders, which Tibbetts has no specific recollection of. Given what we now know about opioids and the opioid crisis in Ohio, we want to make sure Governor Kasich takes a careful look at evidence provided to his office by attorneys in the case.”
Tibbetts had a clemency hearing in January 2017, resulting in an 11-1 recommendation to deny clemency from the Ohio Parole Board. Supplemental materials provided to Governor Kasich following the clemency hearing outline additional information not considered by the parole board.
“Mitigating factors outlined in Mr. Tibbetts’s clemency application and in this letter do not excuse the deaths of Sue Crawford and Fred Hicks, but they do provide powerful reasons to be merciful in this case,” said Erin Barnhart, an Assistant Federal Public Defender representing Tibbetts, in her letter to the Governor’s office. “No one disputes Raymond Tibbetts committed a horrible crime, but the death penalty is to be reserved for ‘the worst of the worst.’ Mr. Tibbetts is not that, although his upbringing was among the worst a child can endure. He was not protected from severe abuse, neglect, and dysfunction during his crucial developmental years. No one can turn back the clock and undo what happened to Mr. Tibbetts as a child, but the Governor can exercise his power to show mercy and spare him from the ultimate punishment.”
Film Premieres and “Talk Backs” to feature director Will Francome and also Ohio attorney Allen Bohnert, who is among those profiled in the film.
Still in competitions and showing in Ohio for the first time, this compelling documentary film follows three individuals impacted by different aspects of the death penalty: a man recently exonerated and freed from death row as he puts his life back together, a murder victim’s family as they traverse the legal process, and an attorney as he unsuccessfully struggles to keep his client alive.
Assistant Federal Public Defender Allen Bohnert, a pioneering attorney challenging Ohio’s lethal injection protocols, is featured in the film. Bohnert provided unprecedented access to film-makers as he and his colleagues attempted to stop the January 2014 execution of Dennis McGuire. The execution did not go smoothly, resulting in a 3.5 year hiatus on executions which ended in July 2017.
In light of the failed execution of Alva Campbell in November 2017 and the scheduled execution of Raymond Tibbetts on February 13, 2018, “The Penalty” provides perspective for continued examination of the issue in Ohio.
TALK BACKS: Director Will Francome will be present to participate in talk-backs with the audience following each screening. Depending on his availability, attorney Allen Bohnert will also participate in some of the Talk Back sessions. Francome and Bohnert are available for advance interviews by phone, and in-person interviews during the tour. To schedule an interview, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-371-5204.
Learn more about the film here: http://www.thepenaltyfilm.com/
See the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/214878795
All Showings Are Free and Open to the Public – RSVP’s Are Encouraged at Provided Links
Schedule as of January 17, 2017 (Additional showings may be added)
Akron: 3pm, January 22 – University ofAkron School of Law – Room 140
Cleveland: 7pm, January 22 – JohnCarroll University – Jardine Room, Lombardo Student Center
Cincinnati: 5pm, January 23 – TheUniversity of Cincinnati – UC College of Law, Room 114
Cincinnati: 12pm, January 24 – Mt. St.Joseph University – Recital Hall
Cincinnati: 6:30pm, January 24 – XavierUniversity – Arrupe Overlook, Gallagher Student Center
Dayton: 7pm, January 25 – TheUniversity of Dayton – Sears Recital Hall
Granville: 4pm, January 26 – DenisonUniversity – Slayter Auditorium
Columbus: 7pm, January 26 – FirstCommunity Church
Columbus: 1pm, January 28 – Studio 35Cinema & Draft House