For the second time this year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) commuted a death sentence, an act that separates him from other Republican governors like Rick Perry of Texas who has been accused of taking pleasure in his ability to execute Texans.
Kasich spared the life of Joseph Murphy of Marion. Murphy was scheduled for execution on October 18th. Murphy, 46, was convicted of killing Ruth Predmore, a 72-year-old widow during a robbery at her home.
In a statement, Kasich said the murder of Ruth Predmore was “heinous and disturbing” and Murphy deserves punishment despite his abusive childhood. He added: “After examining this case in detail with counsel I agree with Chief Justice Moyer, the National Association of Mental Illness and the Parole Board’s unanimous 8-0 decision that considering Joseph Murphy’s brutally abusive upbringing and the relatively young age at which he committed this terrible crime, the death penalty is not appropriate in this case.”
The Ohio Parole Board voted unanimously last week to recommend a grant of clemency based largely on Murphy’s abused and neglected childhood and noted that the sentencing option of life without the possibility of parole was not available when Murphy was convicted.
Murphy’s case stands in stark contrast to Troy Davis, who was executed despite significant concerns that he was innocent. Those discrepancies in outcome are simply unacceptable and are alone grounds for ending, permanently, the use of capital punishment in this country.
Photo from steakpinball via flickr.