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PRISONERS​ ​ON​ ​OHIO’S​ ​EXECUTION​ ​LIST​ ​DEFINED​ ​BY
INTELLECTUAL​ ​IMPAIRMENT,​ ​MENTAL​ ​ILLNESS,​ ​TRAUMA,​ ​AND
YOUNG​ ​AGE
INTRODUCTION
On​ ​July​ ​26,​ ​2017,​ ​Ohio​ ​ended​ ​its​ ​three-year​ ​execution​ ​moratorium​ ​and​ ​put​ ​Ronald​ ​Phillips​ ​to
death.​ ​ ​Phillips,​ ​19​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​he​ ​committed​ ​his​ ​crime,​ ​had​ ​the​ ​intellectual​ ​functioning​ ​of​ ​a
juvenile,​ ​had​ ​a​ ​father​ ​who​ ​sexually​ ​abused​ ​him,​ ​and​ ​grew​ ​up​ ​a​ ​victim​ ​of​ ​and​ ​a​ ​witness​ ​to
unspeakable​ ​physical​ ​abuse​ ​–​ ​information​ ​his​ ​trial​ ​lawyers​ ​never​ ​learned​ ​or​ ​presented​ ​to​ ​a​ ​jury.1
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Ohio​ ​intends​ ​to​ ​execute​ ​three​ ​more​ ​people​ ​in​ ​2017​ ​and​ ​then​ ​23​ ​more​ ​between​ ​2018​ ​and​ ​2020.
We​ ​examined​ ​the​ ​cases​ ​of​ ​these​ ​26​ ​men,​ ​relying​ ​on​ ​available​ ​legal​ ​pleadings,​ ​court​ ​opinions,​ ​and
where​ ​accessible,​ ​trial​ ​testimony.​ ​ ​We​ ​found​ ​that​ ​these​ ​men​ ​are​ ​among​ ​the​ ​most​ ​impaired​ ​and
traumatized​ ​ ​among​ ​us​ ​–​ ​a​ ​pattern​ ​replicated​ ​across​ ​America’s​ ​death​ ​rows.​ ​At​ ​least​ ​17​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the
26​ ​men​ ​experienced​ ​serious​ ​childhood​ ​trauma​ ​–​ ​horrifying​ ​instances​ ​of​ ​extensive​ ​physical​ ​and
sexual​ ​abuse.​ ​ ​At​ ​least​ ​6​ ​men​ ​appear​ ​to​ ​suffer​ ​from​ ​a​ ​mental​ ​illness,​ ​and​ ​at​ ​least​ ​11​ ​have
evidence​ ​of​ ​intellectual​ ​disability,​ ​borderline​ ​intellectual​ ​disability,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​cognitive​ ​impairment,
including​ ​brain​ ​injury.​ ​ ​Three​ ​were​ ​under​ ​the​ ​age​ ​of​ ​21​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​they​ ​committed​ ​their​ ​offenses,
a​ ​period​ ​during​ ​which​ ​an​ ​individual’s​ ​brain,​ ​especially​ ​the​ ​section​ ​related​ ​to​ ​impulse​ ​control​ ​and
decision-making,​ ​is​ ​still​ ​undeveloped.​ ​ ​Many​ ​of​ ​these​ ​men​ ​fall​ ​within​ ​several​ ​of​ ​these​ ​categories,
which​ ​compounds​ ​the​ ​impairments.
We​ ​use​ ​the​ ​term​ ​“at​ ​least”​ ​because​ ​three​ ​of​ ​these​ ​men​ ​waived​ ​the​ ​presentation​ ​of​ ​mitigation​ ​at
their​ ​trials.​ ​ ​And​ ​several​ ​had​ ​lawyers​ ​who​ ​conducted​ ​little​ ​to​ ​no​ ​investigation​ ​at​ ​both​ ​the​ ​trial​ ​and
post-conviction​ ​phase​ ​or​ ​failed​ ​to​ ​seek​ ​the​ ​assistance​ ​of​ ​psychologists​ ​and​ ​other​ ​experts,​ ​despite
the​ ​presence​ ​of​ ​familial​ ​mental​ ​illness,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​often​ ​hereditary.​ ​ ​Therefore,​ ​in​ ​those​ ​cases,​ ​we
know​ ​very​ ​little​ ​about​ ​existing​ ​impairments,​ ​even​ ​though​ ​execution​ ​dates​ ​are​ ​looming.
​ ​See​ ​Phillips​ ​v.​ ​Bradshaw​,​ ​607​ ​F.3d​ ​199,​ ​211-15​ ​(6th​ ​Cir.​ ​2009).
​ ​Mark​ ​Berman,​ ​Ohio​ ​Executes​ ​Ronald​ ​Phillips,​ ​Resuming​ ​Lethal​ ​Injections​ ​after​ ​Three-Year​ ​Break​,​ ​WASHINGTON
POST​ ​ ​(July​ ​26,​ ​2017),​ ​available​ ​at
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/07/26/ohio-prepares-to-resume-execution
s-seeking-to-end-three-year-lull/?utm_term=.49389cff17f6
1

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The​ ​Constitution​ ​mandates​ ​that​ ​the​ ​state​ ​restrict​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​the​ ​death​ ​penalty​ ​to​ ​only​ ​those​ ​“whose
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extreme​ ​culpability​ ​makes​ ​them​ ​‘the​ ​most​ ​deserving​ ​of​ ​execution,’” ​ ​regardless​ ​of​ ​the​ ​severity​ ​of
their​ ​crimes.​ ​The​ ​individuals​ ​identified​ ​here​ ​have​ ​been​ ​convicted​ ​of​ ​horrible​ ​crimes,​ ​and​ ​they
must​ ​be​ ​held​ ​to​ ​account.​ ​But​ ​the​ ​evidence​ ​suggests​ ​that​ ​Ohio​ ​has​ ​not​ ​met​ ​its​ ​constitutional
obligation.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​instead​ ​planning​ ​to​ ​execute​ ​nearly​ ​two​ ​dozen​ ​individuals​ ​with​ ​substantial
impairments,​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​reserving​ ​the​ ​punishment​ ​for​ ​those​ ​with​ ​the​ ​greatest​ ​culpability.
Below,​ ​we​ ​describe​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​stories​ ​we​ ​uncovered​ ​while​ ​researching​ ​these​ ​26​ ​Ohio​ ​cases.​ ​We
have​ ​grouped​ ​them​ ​by​ ​category​ ​of​ ​impairment​ ​which​ ​includes​ ​serious​ ​trauma,​ ​mental​ ​illness​ ​and
intellectual​ ​disability,​ ​and​ ​youth.​ ​These​ ​distinctions,​ ​however,​ ​are​ ​artificial​ ​–​ ​many​ ​of​ ​these​ ​men
have​ ​heartbreaking​ ​stories​ ​falling​ ​within​ ​multiple​ ​categories.​ ​For​ ​each​ ​example​ ​of​ ​a​ ​debilitating
impairment,​ ​we​ ​could​ ​have​ ​included​ ​other​ ​equally​ ​terrifying​ ​stories​ ​of​ ​others​ ​facing​ ​a​ ​sentence​ ​of
death.
SEVERE​ ​CHILDHOOD​ ​TRAUMA
Of​ ​the​ ​26​ ​Ohio​ ​men​ ​currently​ ​awaiting​ ​execution,​ ​at​ ​least​ ​17​ ​experienced​ ​significant​ ​childhood
trauma​ ​–​ ​physical​ ​abuse,​ ​sexual​ ​abuse,​ ​neglect,​ ​and​ ​exposure​ ​to​ ​serious​ ​violence.​ ​Their​ ​personal
histories​ ​reflect​ ​the​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​“severe​ ​privation​ ​and​ ​abuse”​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​described​ ​as
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“powerful”​ ​mitigating​ ​evidence.
The​ ​effects​ ​of​ ​trauma​ ​on​ ​emotional​ ​and​ ​cognitive​ ​development,​ ​including​ ​impulse​ ​control,​ ​are
well​ ​documented.​ ​ ​Childhood​ ​abuse,​ ​neglect,​ ​and​ ​deprivation​ ​can​ ​stunt​ ​a​ ​person’s​ ​psychological
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functioning,​ ​emotional​ ​development,​ ​and​ ​even​ ​alter​ ​what​ ​his​ ​or​ ​her​ ​brain​ ​looks​ ​like. ​ ​ ​Prominent
​Roper v. Simmons​, 543 U.S. 551, 568 (2005) (barring the death penalty for juveniles) (quoting ​Atkins v.
Virginia​,​ ​536​ ​U.S.​ ​304,​ ​319​ ​(2002)​ ​(barring​ ​the​ ​death​ ​penalty​ ​for​ ​the​ ​intellectually​ ​disabled)).
4
​ ​Wiggins​ ​v.​ ​Smith​,​ ​539​ ​U.S.​ ​510,​ ​534-35​ ​(2003).
5
​ ​See,​ ​e.g.​,​ ​Craig​ ​Haney,​ ​The​ ​Social​ ​Context​ ​of​ ​Capital​ ​Murder:​ ​Social​ ​Histories​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Logic​ ​of​ ​Mitigation​,​ ​35
SANTA​ ​CLARA​ ​L.​ ​REV.​​ ​547,​ ​591​ ​(1995),​ ​available​ ​at
http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1572&context=lawreview​​ ​(“[M]ost​ ​people
recognize​ ​intuitively​ ​that​ ​background​ ​experiences​ ​can​ ​shape​ ​and​ ​influence​ ​who​ ​we​ ​are​ ​and​ ​what​ ​we​ ​are
capable​ ​of​ ​becoming.​ ​Indeed,​ ​whatever​ ​effort​ ​our​ ​society​ ​now​ ​devotes​ ​to​ ​the​ ​prevention​ ​and​ ​prosecution​ ​of
child​ ​abuse​ ​derives​ ​in​ ​large​ ​part​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​recognition​ ​that​ ​such​ ​early​ ​traumatic​ ​experiences​ ​can​ ​tragically
alter​ ​the​ ​life​ ​course​ ​of​ ​those​ ​who​ ​are​ ​victimized​ ​by​ ​them.”);​ ​David​ ​Lisak​ ​&​ ​Sara​ ​Beszterczey,​ ​The​ ​Cycle​ ​of
Violence:​ ​The​ ​Life​ ​Histories​ ​of​ ​43​ ​Death​ ​Row​ ​Inmates​,​ ​8​ ​PSYCHOL.​ O​ F​ ​MEN​ ​&​ ​MASCULINITY​ ​118​ ​(2007),​ ​available​ ​at
http://www.davidlisak.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/LifeHistoriesofDeathRowInmates.pdf​;​ ​James​ ​A.​ ​Reavis
et​ ​al.,​ ​Adverse​ ​Childhood​ ​Experiences​ ​and​ ​Adult​ ​Criminality:​ ​How​ ​Long​ ​Must​ ​We​ ​Live​ ​before​ ​We​ ​Possess​ ​Our​ ​Own
Lives?​,​ ​17​ ​THE​ ​PERMANENTE​ ​JOURNAL​ ​44​ ​(2013),​ ​available​ ​at
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662280/​​ ​(finding​ ​that​ ​a​ ​group​ ​of​ ​criminal​ ​offenders
“reported​ ​nearly​ ​four​ ​times​ ​as​ ​many​ ​adverse​ ​events​ ​in​ ​childhood​ ​as​ ​the​ ​control​ ​group”);​ ​Phyllis​ ​L.​ ​Crocker,
Childhood​ ​Abuse​ ​and​ ​Adult​ ​Murder:​ ​Implications​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Death​ ​Penalty​,​ ​77​ ​N.C.​ ​L.​ ​REV.​​ ​1143,​ ​1157-66​ ​(1999),
available​ ​at​ ​http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1278&context=fac_articles
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psychiatrist​ ​Frank​ ​Ochberg​ ​has​ ​explained​ ​that​ ​“early​ ​adverse​ ​situations​ ​reduce​ ​the​ ​resilience​ ​of
human​ ​biology​ ​and​ ​they​ ​change​ ​us​ ​in​ ​very​ ​fundamental​ ​ways.​ ​Our​ ​brains​ ​are​ ​altered.​ ​And​ ​that’s
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what​ ​this​ ​research​ ​is​ ​bearing​ ​out.”
Raymond​ ​Tibbetts
Raymond​ ​Tibbetts’​ ​biological​ ​parents​ ​were​ ​alcoholics​ ​who​ ​failed​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​for​ ​their​ ​children’s
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most​ ​basic​ ​needs. ​ ​Tibbetts’​ ​mother​ ​likely​ ​suffered​ ​from​ ​a​ ​borderline​ ​personality​ ​disorder ​ ​and
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was​ ​“cold,​ ​distant​ ​and​ ​uncaring”​ ​towards​ ​her​ ​children. ​ ​On​ ​the​ ​rare​ ​occasion​ ​Tibbetts’​ ​father​ ​was
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present,​ ​he​ ​severely​ ​beat​ ​Tibbetts’​ ​mother.
Tibbetts’​ ​parents​ ​permanently​ ​abandoned​ ​him​ ​at​ ​age​ ​two,​ ​and​ ​he​ ​was​ ​moved​ ​to​ ​Ohio’s​ ​foster
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care​ ​system​ ​along​ ​with​ ​his​ ​four​ ​siblings. ​ ​In​ ​the​ ​first​ ​placement,​ ​Tibbetts​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​were
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malnourished​ ​and​ ​treated​ ​worse​ ​than​ ​animals. ​ ​The​ ​family​ ​locked​ ​them​ ​outside​ ​for​ ​long​ ​periods
of​ ​time​ ​without​ ​access​ ​to​ ​a​ ​toilet,​ ​forced​ ​them​ ​to​ ​sit​ ​in​ ​the​ ​corner​ ​for​ ​hours​ ​on​ ​end​ ​when​ ​allowed
13
inside​ ​the​ ​house,​ ​and​ ​tied​ ​Tibbets​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​to​ ​their​ ​beds​ ​with​ ​ropes​ ​at​ ​night. ​ ​The​ ​foster
family​ ​often​ ​put​ ​their​ ​four​ ​biological​ ​children​ ​in​ ​charge​ ​of​ ​Tibbets​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​–​ ​they
“‘brutalized’​ ​Tibbetts​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​by​ ​kicking​ ​them​ ​down​ ​the​ ​stairs,​ ​beating​ ​them​ ​with
spatulas,​ ​and​ ​burning​ ​their​ ​hands​ ​on​ ​heat​ ​registers,​ ​which​ ​sent​ ​at​ ​least​ ​one​ ​child​ ​the​ ​hospital.”
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(sic).
The​ ​Ohio​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​Human​ ​Services​ ​knew​ ​Tibbetts’​ ​foster​ ​parents​ ​were​ ​abusive​ ​and​ ​failed
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to​ ​care​ ​for​ ​him,​ ​but​ ​did​ ​nothing​ ​about​ ​it​ ​for​ ​years. ​ ​At​ ​least​ ​one​ ​social​ ​worker​ ​noted​ ​the​ ​impact
of​ ​this​ ​abuse​ ​on​ ​Tibbetts,​ ​who​ ​was​ ​“afraid​ ​of​ ​water​ ​because​ ​someone​ ​had​ ​tried​ ​to​ ​hold​ ​him
16
under.” ​ ​Another​ ​suspected​ ​that​ ​“Tibbetts'​ ​time​ ​with​ ​the​ ​[foster​ ​family]​ ​‘created​ ​[his]​ ​nervous
(reviewing​ ​psychological​ ​and​ ​medical​ ​“research​ ​on​ ​the​ ​correlation​ ​between​ ​childhood​ ​abuse​ ​and​ ​adult
violence”).
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​ ​Alex​ ​Hannaford,​ ​Letters​ ​from​ ​Death​ ​Row:​ ​The​ ​Biology​ ​of​ ​Trauma​,​ ​TEXAS​ ​OBSERVER​,​ ​June​ ​22,​ ​2015,​ ​available​ ​at
http://www.texasobserver.org/letters-from-death-row-childhood-trauma/​;​ ​see​ ​also​ ​Kathleen​ ​Wayland,​ ​The
Importance​ ​of​ ​Recognizing​ ​Trauma​ ​throughout​ ​Capital​ ​Mitigation​ ​Investigations​ ​and​ ​Presentations,​ ​ ​36​ ​Hofstra
L.​ ​REV​.​ ​923​ ​(2008),​ ​available​ ​at​ ​http://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/hlr/vol36/iss3/11​.
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​ ​Death​ ​Penalty​ ​Clemency​ ​Report,​ ​In​ ​re:​ ​Raymond​ ​Tibbetts,​ ​CCI​ ​#A363-178,​ ​State​ ​of​ ​Ohio​ ​Adult​ ​Parole
Authority​ ​(published​ ​March​ ​10,​ ​2017)​ ​(“Tibbetts​ ​Clemency​ ​Report”)​ ​at​ ​11.
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​ ​Tibbetts​ ​v.​ ​Bradshaw​,​ ​633​ ​F.3d​ ​436,​ ​454​ ​(6th​ ​Cir.​ ​2011)​ ​(Moore,​ ​J.,​ ​dissenting).
9
​ ​Tibbetts​ ​Clemency​ ​Report,​ ​supra​ ​note​ ​7​ ​at​ ​11.
10
​ ​Id​.
11
​ ​Id​.
12
​ ​Tibbetts​,​ ​633​ ​F.3d​ ​at​ ​450,​ ​453.
13
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​454.
14
​ ​Id​.
15
​ ​See​ ​Hamilton​ ​County​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​Human​ ​Services,​ ​Children’s​ ​Services​ ​Records,​ ​1961–1974​ ​(​ ​“Children’s
Services​ ​Records”).
16
​ ​Tibbetts​,​ ​633​ ​F.3d​ ​at​ ​450.

disposition,’​ ​and​ ​noted​ ​that​ ​contact​ ​with​ ​the​ ​[foster​ ​family]​ ​led​ ​Tibbetts​ ​to​ ​rock​ ​himself​ ​to​ ​sleep
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at​ ​night.” Tibbetts​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​were​ ​finally​ ​removed​ ​after​ ​Tibbetts’​ ​brother​ ​“sustain[ed]​ ​a
severe​ ​burn,”18​ ​but​ ​their​ ​next​ ​foster​ ​placement​ ​was​ ​no​ ​better.​ ​Tibbetts​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​were
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subjected​ ​to​ ​beatings,​ ​all​ ​documented​ ​by​ ​the​ ​social​ ​workers.
Tibbetts​ ​repeatedly​ ​tried​ ​to​ ​run​ ​away​ ​from​ ​his​ ​abusive,​ ​neglectful​ ​environment,​ ​attempts​ ​that
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landed​ ​him​ ​in​ ​juvenile​ ​detention​ ​facilities​ ​notorious​ ​for​ ​mistreating​ ​its​ ​charges. ​ ​The​ ​State
continually​ ​returned​ ​Tibbets​ ​to​ ​his​ ​foster​ ​placement​ ​following​ ​his​ ​discharge​ ​from​ ​these​ ​facilities,
where​ ​he​ ​remained​ ​for​ ​a​ ​decade.​ ​When​ ​he​ ​was​ ​finally​ ​removed,​ ​Ohio​ ​placed​ ​him​ ​in​ ​group​ ​homes
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and​ ​orphanages. ​ ​Unsurprisingly,​ ​by​ ​age​ ​14,​ ​Tibbetts​ ​had​ ​begun​ ​drinking​ ​alcohol​ ​and​ ​using
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drugs.
Incredibly,​ ​Tibbetts’​ ​trial​ ​attorneys​ ​failed​ ​to​ ​thoroughly​ ​explore​ ​the​ ​psychological​ ​and​ ​cognitive
effect​ ​such​ ​astounding​ ​abuse​ ​surely​ ​had​ ​on​ ​him.​ ​ ​The​ ​attorneys​ ​called​ ​one​ ​psychiatrist​ ​to​ ​testify,
but​ ​because​ ​the​ ​attorneys​ ​provided​ ​him​ ​with​ ​little​ ​direct​ ​knowledge​ ​of​ ​Tibbetts’​ ​social​ ​history,
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the​ ​doctor’s​ ​testimony​ ​was​ ​largely​ ​incomplete.
Cleveland​ ​Jackson
Like​ ​Tibbetts,​ ​Cleveland​ ​Jackson’s​ ​childhood​ ​was​ ​marred​ ​by​ ​extraordinary​ ​physical​ ​violence,
poverty,​ ​and​ ​neglect.​ ​When​ ​he​ ​was​ ​either​ ​three​ ​or​ ​four​ ​years​ ​old,​ ​Jackson’s​ ​mother​ ​killed​ ​his
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father​ ​with​ ​a​ ​knife;​ ​according​ ​to​ ​his​ ​mother,​ ​she​ ​acted​ ​in​ ​self-defense. ​ ​She​ ​explained​ ​that​ ​she
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did​ ​so​ ​when​ ​Cleveland​ ​Jackson,​ ​Sr.​ ​turned​ ​violent,​ ​a​ ​frequent​ ​event​ ​when​ ​he​ ​was​ ​drinking. ​ ​All
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of​ ​the​ ​children,​ ​including​ ​Cleveland​ ​Jackson,​ ​Jr.,​ ​witnessed​ ​the​ ​killing.
Children’s​ ​services’​ ​records​ ​describe​ ​his​ ​home​ ​as​ ​“filthy,​ ​with​ ​garbage​ ​and​ ​dirty​ ​clothes​ ​on​ ​his
floor,”​ ​where​ ​the​ ​children​ ​played​ ​on​ ​“floors​ ​littered​ ​with​ ​broken​ ​glass.”27​ ​The​ ​children​ ​frequently
had​ ​no​ ​beds​ ​to​ ​sleep​ ​in​ ​and​ ​the​ ​house​ ​lacked​ ​furniture​ ​because​ ​his​ ​mother​ ​sold​ ​it​ ​to​ ​buy​ ​drugs.28
Jackson​ ​sometimes​ ​ate​ ​only​ ​one​ ​meal​ ​a​ ​day​ ​–​ ​a​ ​breakfast​ ​of​ ​bread​ ​and​ ​honey.29​ ​Records​ ​also
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​451.
​ ​ ​Tibbets​ ​Clemency​ ​Report,​ ​supra​ ​note​ ​7,​ ​at​ ​12.
19
​ ​Children’s​ ​Services​ ​Records,​ ​Aug.​ ​26,​ ​1974,​ ​supra​ ​note​ ​15,​ ​at​ ​ ​p.​ ​67.
20
​ ​Children’s​ ​Services​ ​Records,​ ​Summary​ ​from​ ​Aug​ ​1970​ ​to​ ​Feb.​ ​1972,​ ​supra​ ​note​ ​15,​ ​at​ ​ ​p.​ ​61.
21
​ ​Tibbetts​ ​Clemency​ ​Report,​ ​supra​ ​note​ ​7,​ ​at​ ​12.
22
​ ​Id​.
23
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​17.
24
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Jackson​,​ ​107​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​53,​ ​83​ ​(Ohio​ ​2012).
25
​ ​See​ ​id.
26
​ ​See​ ​id.
27
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​84.
28
​ ​Id​.
29
​ ​Id​.
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suggest​ ​physical​ ​abuse,​ ​in​ ​addition​ ​to​ ​the​ ​extraordinary​ ​neglect. ​ ​Children’s​ ​services​ ​removed
Jackson​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​from​ ​his​ ​mother’s​ ​custody​ ​on​ ​numerous​ ​occasions,​ ​placing​ ​him
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intermittently​ ​in​ ​foster​ ​homes​ ​or​ ​with​ ​his​ ​grandmother.​​ ​ ​ ​One​ ​of​ ​Jackson’s​ ​aunts​ ​reported​ ​that
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during​ ​one​ ​stint​ ​in​ ​foster​ ​care,​ ​Jackson​ ​was​ ​raped.
Jackson’s​ ​aunt​ ​testified​ ​that​ ​his​ ​mother​ ​“had​ ​been​ ​a​ ​heavy​ ​drinker,​ ​had​ ​physically​ ​abused​ ​her
children,​ ​and​ ​had​ ​attempted​ ​suicide.​ ​.​ ​.​ ​.​ ​[A]t​ ​times,​ ​there​ ​had​ ​been​ ​no​ ​food​ ​in​ ​the​ ​house​ ​and​ ​no
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furniture​ ​because​ ​Betty​ ​had​ ​sold​ ​it​ ​to​ ​buy​ ​drugs.” ​ ​She​ ​did​ ​not​ ​shield​ ​her​ ​kids​ ​from​ ​her​ ​drug
habit.​ ​Jackson​ ​told​ ​the​ ​defense​ ​team’s​ ​expert​ ​that​ ​“his​ ​mother​ ​would​ ​smoke​ ​crack​ ​cocaine​ ​and
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blow​ ​the​ ​smoke​ ​in​ ​his​ ​face.” ​ ​ ​Additionally,​ ​his​ ​mother​ ​suffered​ ​from​ ​a​ ​lengthy​ ​history​ ​of
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mental​ ​health​ ​problems.
Douglas​ ​Coley
During​ ​his​ ​childhood,​ ​Douglas​ ​Coley​ ​experienced​ ​extraordinary​ ​neglect​ ​and​ ​possible​ ​sexual
abuse.​ ​His​ ​mother,​ ​Victoria​ ​Coley,​ ​suffered​ ​from​ ​a​ ​debilitating​ ​mental​ ​illness,​ ​paranoid
schizophrenia​ ​with​ ​borderline​ ​personality​ ​disorder,​ ​and​ ​likely​ ​intellectual​ ​disability,​ ​with​ ​an​ ​IQ
between​ ​65-68.36​ ​She​ ​abused​ ​drugs​ ​and​ ​alcohol​ ​and​ ​worked​ ​as​ ​a​ ​prostitute.​ ​Between
1977—when​ ​Douglas​ ​was​ ​two​ ​years​ ​old—and​ ​1991,​ ​Victoria​ ​“was​ ​hospitalized​ ​in​ ​state​ ​mental
hospitals​ ​some​ ​fifteen​ ​times​ ​.​ ​.​ ​.​ ​.”37​ ​ ​In​ ​1989,​ ​the​ ​government​ ​charged​ ​her​ ​with​ ​arson​ ​on​ ​her​ ​own
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home​ ​and​ ​child​ ​endangerment,​ ​but​ ​a​ ​jury​ ​found​ ​her​ ​not​ ​guilty​ ​by​ ​reason​ ​of​ ​insanity. ​ ​Her
sister-in-law,​ ​Martha​ ​Jean​ ​Davis,​ ​gave​ ​a​ ​deeply​ ​disturbing​ ​description​ ​of​ ​Victoria.​ ​She​ ​testified
that​ ​Victoria​ ​was:
“‘[an]​ ​oversexed​ ​mental​ ​patient​ ​*​ ​*​ ​*​ ​[who]​ ​wouldn’t​ ​keep​ ​her​ ​clothes​ ​on.’​ ​She
‘would​ ​strip​ ​and​ ​run​ ​down​ ​*​ ​*​ ​*​ ​the​ ​street​ ​with​ ​no​ ​clothes​ ​on.​ ​*​ ​*​ ​*​ ​[S]he​ ​would
have​ ​sex​ ​with​ ​anyone,​ ​anybody,​ ​anywhere.”
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It​ ​is​ ​also​ ​possible​ ​that​ ​Victoria​ ​sexually​ ​abused​ ​her​ ​children. ​ ​According​ ​to​ ​Martha​ ​Davis’s
testimony,​ ​Victoria​ ​had​ ​sex​ ​with​ ​Davis’s​ ​ten-year-old​ ​son.​ ​ ​ ​Davis​ ​also​ ​accused​ ​Victoria​ ​of
​ ​See​ ​id.​ ​ ​.
​ ​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​83.
32
​ ​Id.
33
​ ​Id.​ ​.
34
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​84.
35
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​86.
36
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Coley​,​ ​93​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​253,​ ​271​ ​(Ohio​ ​2001).
37
​ ​Id.​ ​.
38
​ ​Id.
39
​ ​Id.
30

31

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having​ ​sex​ ​with​ ​her​ ​own​ ​children.”

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Douglas​ ​was​ ​largely​ ​“neglected​ ​and​ ​malnourished.” ​ ​He​ ​and​ ​his​ ​brother​ ​“were​ ​forced​ ​to​ ​fend​ ​for
themselves”​ ​by​ ​“panhandling​ ​and​ ​stealing​ ​and​ ​selling​ ​dope.”42​ ​ ​Coley’s​ ​father​ ​was​ ​absent,
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imprisoned​ ​for​ ​five​ ​years​ ​when​ ​he​ ​was​ ​just​ ​a​ ​few​ ​months​ ​old. ​ ​He​ ​served​ ​several​ ​different
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prison​ ​terms​ ​throughout​ ​Coley’s​ ​life​ ​and​ ​was​ ​largely​ ​absent,​ ​either​ ​in​ ​prison​ ​or​ ​abusing​ ​drugs.
Archie​ ​Dixon
Archie​ ​Dixon,​ ​only​ ​20​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​the​ ​offense,​ ​experienced​ ​sexual​ ​abuse,​ ​horrendous
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childhood​ ​physical​ ​abuse,​ ​and​ ​neglect. ​ ​In​ ​federal​ ​court,​ ​Mr.​ ​Dixon’s​ ​lawyers​ ​presented
evidence​ ​that​ ​his​ ​father​ ​severely​ ​abused​ ​him,​ ​hitting​ ​him​ ​with​ ​a​ ​baseball​ ​bat,​ ​kicking​ ​him,
smacking​ ​him,​ ​and​ ​regularly​ ​losing​ ​control.​ ​ ​On​ ​one​ ​occasion,​ ​Dixon’s​ ​father​ ​“put​ ​his​ ​steel​ ​toed
46
boots​ ​on​ ​and​ ​kicked​ ​Dixon​ ​like​ ​a​ ​man,”​ ​resulting​ ​in​ ​a​ ​deformity​ ​to​ ​Dixon’s​ ​ribs.
Dixon’s​ ​father​ ​also​ ​badly​ ​mistreated​ ​Dixon’s​ ​mother,​ ​once​ ​firing​ ​“six​ ​rounds​ ​of​ ​his​ ​shotgun​ ​from
inside​ ​the​ ​home;”​ ​she​ ​filed​ ​several​ ​domestic​ ​violence​ ​charges​ ​over​ ​the​ ​course​ ​of​ ​their
47
relationship​ ​but​ ​later​ ​dropped​ ​them. ​ ​Archie’s​ ​father​ ​had​ ​a​ ​reputation​ ​for​ ​violence​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​the
family,​ ​too.​ ​“Dixon’s​ ​foster​ ​mother​ ​described​ ​how​ ​employees​ ​at​ ​the​ ​local​ ​court​ ​feared​ ​Dixon’s
48
father​ ​because​ ​he​ ​had​ ​once​ ​made​ ​a​ ​death​ ​threat​ ​to​ ​a​ ​court​ ​employee.” ​ ​Archie’s​ ​father​ ​was
49
“arrested​ ​between​ ​seven​ ​and​ ​ten​ ​times​ ​for​ ​driving​ ​under​ ​the​ ​influence​ ​of​ ​alcohol​ ​.​ ​.​ ​.​ ​.”
50

Evidence​ ​also​ ​suggested​ ​occurrences​ ​of​ ​incest​ ​and​ ​familial​ ​sexual​ ​abuse. ​ ​Archie’s​ ​maternal
51
grandfather​ ​“repeatedly”​ ​molested​ ​his​ ​sister. ​ ​A​ ​caseworker​ ​indicated​ ​that​ ​there​ ​may​ ​have​ ​been
sexual​ ​intercourse​ ​between​ ​both​ ​brothers​ ​and​ ​their​ ​sister,​ ​and​ ​between​ ​their​ ​father​ ​and​ ​sister.​ ​He
documented​ ​“how​ ​the​ ​Dixon​ ​family​ ​was​ ​given​ ​the​ ​worst​ ​score​ ​regarding​ ​‘family​ ​system
pathology’​ ​from​ ​‘day​ ​one,’​ ​never​ ​improved,​ ​and​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​worst​ ​families​ ​with​ ​which​ ​he​ ​had
52
worked.”
​ ​Id.
​ ​Id.
42
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​272.
43
​ ​See​ ​id.​ ​a
44
​ ​Id.
45
​ ​Dixon​ ​v.​ ​Houk​,​ ​627​ ​F.3d​ ​553,​ ​566​ ​(6th​ ​Cir.​ ​2010)(Cole,​ ​J.,​ ​concurring),​ ​cert.​ ​granted,​ ​judgment​ ​rev'd​ ​sub​ ​nom.
Bobby​ ​v.​ ​Dixon​,​ ​565​ ​U.S.​ ​23​ ​(2011)​ ​.
46
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​566.
47
​ ​Id.​ ​.
48
​ ​Id.
49
​ ​Id.
50
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​567.
51
​ ​Id.
52
​ ​Id.
40
41

53

Nixon’s​ ​trial​ ​attorneys​ ​failed​ ​to​ ​present​ ​this​ ​compelling​ ​mitigating​ ​evidence​ ​at​ ​trial. ​ ​The​ ​penalty
phase​ ​lasted​ ​just​ ​one​ ​day,​ ​with​ ​the​ ​defense​ ​presenting​ ​one​ ​witness​ ​who​ ​explained​ ​ ​how​ ​long​ ​Mr.
54
Dixon​ ​would​ ​remain​ ​locked​ ​up​ ​before​ ​receiving​ ​parole​ ​should​ ​the​ ​jury​ ​spare​ ​his​ ​life.
Stanley​ ​Adams
Stanley​ ​Adams’s​ ​“father​ ​‘was​ ​a​ ​brutal​ ​and​ ​seriously​ ​disturbed​ ​personality,’​ ​who​ ​beat​ ​Adams's
mother​ ​and​ ​his​ ​children​ ​regularly​ ​and​ ​sexually​ ​abused​ ​his​ ​sons​ ​and​ ​daughters.​ ​At​ ​one​ ​point,
55
Adams’s​ ​father​ ​took​ ​Adams​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​out​ ​of​ ​town​ ​and​ ​hid​ ​them​ ​for​ ​six​ ​months.” ​ ​He​ ​told
them​ ​their​ ​mother​ ​was​ ​dead.56​ ​ ​During​ ​that​ ​time,​ ​Adams’​ ​father​ ​“taught​ ​the​ ​young​ ​children​ ​about
sex,​ ​not​ ​only​ ​by​ ​having​ ​sex​ ​himself​ ​with​ ​the​ ​children,​ ​but​ ​by​ ​instructing​ ​and​ ​requiring​ ​[them]​ ​to
57
have​ ​incestuous​ ​sexual​ ​relations​ ​with​ ​each​ ​other.” ​ ​Adams​ ​was​ ​also​ ​rejected​ ​by​ ​his​ ​mother,​ ​who
favored​ ​her​ ​other​ ​children,​ ​taking​ ​Adams’​ ​possessions​ ​and​ ​clothing,​ ​giving​ ​them​ ​to​ ​his​ ​siblings,
58
then​ ​forcing​ ​Adams​ ​to​ ​attend​ ​school​ ​in​ ​rags. ​ ​When​ ​Adams​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​exhibited​ ​disruptive
behavior​ ​following​ ​the​ ​six​ ​months​ ​of​ ​severe​ ​sexual​ ​abuse​ ​inflicted​ ​by​ ​his​ ​father,​ ​his​ ​mother
abandoned​ ​them​ ​entirely,​ ​and​ ​each​ ​was​ ​placed​ ​in​ ​foster​ ​care.59​ ​ ​She​ ​singled​ ​Adams​ ​out
specifically,​ ​noting​ ​that​ ​his​ ​behavior​ ​was​ ​interfering​ ​with​ ​her​ ​relationship​ ​with​ ​a​ ​new​ ​man.
Adams​ ​eventually​ ​lived​ ​in​ ​11​ ​different​ ​foster​ ​homes,60​ ​during​ ​which​ ​he​ ​suffered​ ​additional
61
abuse.
62
Adams​ ​suffered​ ​from​ ​depression,​ ​suicidal​ ​ideation,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​personality​ ​disorder. ​ ​He​ ​began
63
abusing​ ​alcohol​ ​and​ ​other​ ​substances​ ​at​ ​the​ ​age​ ​of​ ​five​ ​or​ ​six. ​ ​These​ ​were​ ​not​ ​Adams’s​ ​only
problems.​ ​ ​He​ ​received​ ​an​ ​IQ​ ​score​ ​of​ ​ ​77,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​“in​ ​the​ ​low​ ​average​ ​to​ ​borderline​ ​range​ ​and
64
in​ ​the​ ​lowest​ ​12​ ​percent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​population.”
MENTAL​ ​ILLNESS,​ ​INTELLECTUAL​ ​DISABILITY,​ ​AND​ ​OTHER​ ​COGNITIVE
IMPAIRMENTS

​ ​Dixon​ ​v.​ ​Houk​,​ ​737​ ​F.3d​ ​1003,​ ​1011-12​ ​(6th​ ​Cir.​ ​2013).
​ ​See​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Dixon​,​ ​No.​ ​L-96-004,​ ​2000​ ​WL​ ​1713794,​ ​at​ ​*13​ ​(Ohio​ ​Ct.​ ​App.​ ​Nov.​ ​17,​ ​2000),​ ​aff'd​,​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Dixon​,
101​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​328​ ​(Ohio​ ​2004).
55
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Adams​,​ ​103​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​508,​ ​536​ ​(Ohio​ ​2004).
56
​ ​Trial​ ​Transcript,​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Adams​,​ ​00-CR-700​ ​(Trumbull​ ​County,​ ​Ohio​ ​Court​ ​of​ ​Common​ ​Pleas)​ ​at​ ​4307.
57
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Adams​,​ ​No.​ ​2001-2072​ ​(Ohio),​ ​Merit​ ​Brief​ ​of​ ​Appellant​ ​Stanley​ ​Adams​ ​(“Adams​ ​Merit​ ​Brief”),​ ​at​ ​136.
58
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​137.
59
​ ​Trial​ ​Transcript,​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Adams​,​ ​00-CR-700​ ​(Trumbull​ ​County,​ ​Ohio​ ​Court​ ​of​ ​Common​ ​Pleas),​ ​at​ ​4348-50.
60
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​4305.
61
​ ​Adams​,​ ​103​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​at​ ​536.
62
​ ​Id.​at​ ​535-36.
63
​ ​Id​.
64
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​535.

53

54

65

There​ ​are​ ​at​ ​least​ ​three​ ​defendants​ ​awaiting​ ​death​ ​who​ ​may​ ​well​ ​be​ ​intellectually​ ​disabled. ​ ​At
least​ ​seven​ ​more​ ​have​ ​significantly​ ​sub-average​ ​intellectual​ ​functioning,​ ​with​ ​IQ​ ​scores​ ​below
85.​ ​ ​These​ ​cases​ ​present​ ​similar​ ​concerns​ ​about​ ​lessened​ ​culpability​ ​and​ ​an​ ​inability​ ​to​ ​help
counsel​ ​develop​ ​a​ ​compelling​ ​mitigation​ ​case.​ ​ ​Six,​ ​if​ ​not​ ​more,​ ​suffer​ ​from​ ​a​ ​mental​ ​illness,​ ​and
some​ ​of​ ​these​ ​men​ ​ ​have​ ​a​ ​dual-diagnosis.
Fifteen​ ​years​ ​ago,​ ​the​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​ruled​ ​that​ ​those​ ​who​ ​suffer​ ​from​ ​intellectual​ ​disability​ ​are
insufficiently​ ​culpable​ ​to​ ​warrant​ ​a​ ​death​ ​sentence​ ​due​ ​to​ ​their​ ​“diminished​ ​capacities​ ​to
understand​ ​and​ ​process​ ​information,​ ​to​ ​communicate,​ ​to​ ​abstract​ ​from​ ​mistakes​ ​and​ ​learn​ ​from
experience,​ ​to​ ​engage​ ​in​ ​logical​ ​reasoning,​ ​to​ ​control​ ​impulses,​ ​and​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​others’
66
reactions.”​​ ​ ​The​ ​same​ ​can​ ​be​ ​said​ ​of​ ​those​ ​who​ ​suffer​ ​from​ ​mental​ ​illness​ ​or​ ​other​ ​cognitive
impairments,​ ​which​ ​also​ ​often​ ​restrict​ ​a​ ​person’s​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​control​ ​impulses​ ​and​ ​appreciate​ ​the
consequences​ ​of​ ​his​ ​actions,​ ​particularly​ ​when​ ​untreated.​ ​For​ ​this​ ​reason,​ ​legislatures​ ​across​ ​the
country​ ​have​ ​proposed​ ​bills​ ​to​ ​preclude​ ​the​ ​imposition​ ​of​ ​the​ ​death​ ​penalty​ ​for​ ​those​ ​who​ ​suffer
from​ ​these​ ​impairments.​ ​In​ ​2014,​ ​an​ ​Ohio​ ​task​ ​force​ ​recommended​ ​enacting​ ​legislation​ ​to​ ​make
67
those​ ​who​ ​suffer​ ​from​ ​serious​ ​mental​ ​illness​ ​ineligible​ ​for​ ​the​ ​death​ ​penalty.
Stanley​ ​Fitzpatrick
Stanley​ ​Fitzpatrick​ ​suffers​ ​from​ ​mental​ ​illness​ ​–​ ​a​ ​major​ ​depressive​ ​disorder​ ​with​ ​psychotic
68
features​ ​and​ ​substance-induced​ ​psychotic​ ​disorder​ ​–​ ​ ​and​ ​intellectual​ ​disability. ​ ​ ​Around​ ​the
time​ ​Fitzpatrick​ ​committed​ ​his​ ​crimes,​ ​he​ ​suffered​ ​from​ ​both​ ​auditory​ ​and​ ​visual​ ​hallucinations
69
accompanied​ ​by​ ​anxiety,​ ​depression,​ ​paranoia,​ ​and​ ​mental​ ​confusion. ​ ​He​ ​made​ ​a​ ​call​ ​to​ ​911,
70
for​ ​example,​ ​complaining​ ​about​ ​phantoms​ ​in​ ​his​ ​yard, ​ ​and​ ​the​ ​murders​ ​he​ ​committed​ ​followed
a​ ​hallucination​ ​where​ ​he​ ​reported​ ​“the​ ​devil​ ​appeared,​ ​had​ ​a​ ​conversation​ ​with​ ​[Fitzpatrick],​ ​and
seemed​ ​to​ ​suck​ ​the​ ​life​ ​out​ ​of​ ​[him];​ ​that​ ​[Fitzpatrick]​ ​saw​ ​demons,​ ​and​ ​drug​ ​dealers​ ​who​ ​were
71
not​ ​there,​ ​and​ ​heard​ ​people​ ​who​ ​were​ ​not​ ​there​ ​walking​ ​around​ ​upstairs.
Fitzpatrick​ ​also​ ​likely​ ​suffers​ ​from​ ​intellectual​ ​disability.​ ​Even​ ​though​ ​his​ ​IQ​ ​is​ ​a​ ​devastatingly
low​ ​69,​ ​his​ ​trial​ ​attorneys​ ​did​ ​not​ ​mount​ ​this​ ​defense,​ ​which​ ​today​ ​would​ ​make​ ​him​ ​categorically
​ ​See​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​White,​ ​118​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​12,​ ​14​ ​(2008)​ ​(The​ ​intellectually​ ​disabled​ ​show​ ​“(1)​ ​significantly
subaverage​ ​intellectual​ ​functioning,​ ​(2)​ ​significant​ ​limitations​ ​in​ ​two​ ​or​ ​more​ ​adaptive​ ​skills,​ ​such​ ​as
communication,​ ​self-care,​ ​and​ ​self-direction,​ ​and​ ​(3)​ ​onset​ ​before​ ​the​ ​age​ ​of​ ​18.”).
66
​ ​Atkins​ ​v.​ ​Virginia,​ ​536​ ​U.S.​ ​304,​ ​305​ ​(2002).
67
​ ​Jᴀᴍᴇ ​ ​A.​ ​Bʀᴏɢᴀɴ,​ ​Jᴏɪɴᴛ​ ​Tᴀ ᴋ​ ​Fᴏʀᴄᴇ​ ​ᴛᴏ​ ​Rᴇᴠɪᴇᴡ​ ​ᴛʜᴇ​ ​Aᴅᴍɪɴɪ ᴛʀᴀᴛɪᴏɴ​ ​ᴏ ​ ​Oʜɪᴏ’ ​ ​Dᴇᴀᴛʜ​ ​Pᴇɴᴀʟᴛʏ,​ ​Fɪɴᴀʟ​ ​Rᴇᴘᴏʀᴛ​ ​&
Rᴇᴄᴏᴍᴍᴇɴᴅᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ​ ​6-7​ ​(2014),​ ​available​ ​at
http://www.sc.ohio.gov/Boards/deathPenalty/resources/finalReport.pdf.
68
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Fitzpatrick,​ ​102​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​321,​ ​335​ ​(2004).
69
​ ​Fitzpatrick​ ​v.​ ​Bradshaw,​ ​No.​ ​1:06–cv–356,​ ​2008​ ​WL​ ​7055605,​ ​at​ ​*18​ ​(S.D.​ ​Ohio​ ​Oct.​ ​14,​ ​2008)​ ​.
70
​ ​Merit​ ​Brief​ ​of​ ​Appellant,​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Fitzpatrick,​ ​ ​(No.​ ​2002-0506),​ ​2002​ ​WL​ ​34183339,​ ​at​ ​*27.
71
​ ​Id​.
65

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ineligible​ ​for​ ​the​ ​death​ ​penalty. ​ ​They​ ​did​ ​not​ ​pursue​ ​further​ ​evaluations​ ​or​ ​investigate​ ​whether
he​ ​met​ ​the​ ​other​ ​criteria​ ​for​ ​intellectual​ ​disability,​ ​and​ ​incredibly,​ ​ ​did​ ​not​ ​introduce​ ​any​ ​evidence
73
of​ ​his​ ​low​ ​IQ​ ​during​ ​the​ ​penalty​ ​phase.
James​ ​Frazier
74

James​ ​Frazier’s​ ​intellectual​ ​troubles​ ​started​ ​early.​ ​He​ ​failed​ ​the​ ​first​ ​grade, ​ ​and​ ​was​ ​designated
75
a​ ​“slow​ ​learner”​ ​and​ ​attended​ ​“special​ ​classes.” ​ ​Even​ ​in​ ​the​ ​special​ ​education​ ​environment,
Frazier​ ​earned​ ​almost​ ​all​ ​“D’s,”​ ​and​ ​he​ ​dropped​ ​out​ ​of​ ​high​ ​school​ ​at​ ​the​ ​age​ ​of​ ​19​ ​while​ ​in​ ​the
76
tenth​ ​grade. ​ ​According​ ​to​ ​expert​ ​trial​ ​testimony,​ ​Frazier​ ​has​ ​an​ ​IQ​ ​of​ ​72,​ ​“which​ ​places​ ​him​ ​in
77
the​ ​borderline​ ​[intellectually​ ​disabled]​ ​range​ ​of​ ​intelligence.” ​ ​As​ ​an​ ​adult,​ ​the​ ​government
78
awarded​ ​Mr.​ ​Frazier​ ​social​ ​security​ ​benefits​ ​based​ ​on​ ​a​ ​mental​ ​retardation​ ​diagnosis.
Like​ ​many​ ​on​ ​death​ ​row,​ ​Frazier​ ​had​ ​other​ ​obstacles​ ​to​ ​overcome.​ ​Frazier​ ​was​ ​raised​ ​with​ ​five
79
siblings​ ​in​ ​a​ ​household​ ​that​ ​brought​ ​in​ ​a​ ​weekly​ ​wage​ ​of​ ​$64. ​ ​His​ ​parents​ ​provided​ ​no
80
supervision,​ ​but​ ​his​ ​father​ ​did​ ​issue​ ​periodic​ ​“whoopings.” ​ ​Frazier​ ​was​ ​also​ ​a​ ​victim​ ​of​ ​sexual
abuse.​ ​According​ ​to​ ​one​ ​expert,​ ​“when​ ​[Frazier]​ ​was​ ​13​ ​or​ ​14​ ​years​ ​old,​ ​a​ ​man​ ​abducted​ ​him
while​ ​he​ ​was​ ​getting​ ​off​ ​a​ ​bus​ ​and​ ​sodomized​ ​him.”​ ​ ​The​ ​expert​ ​testified​ ​that​ ​Frazier’s​ ​trust​ ​in
81
other​ ​people​ ​“evaporated​ ​after​ ​that​ ​experience.”
James​ ​Derrick​ ​O’Neal
82

At​ ​least​ ​one​ ​defense​ ​expert​ ​has​ ​identified​ ​O’Neal​ ​as​ ​borderline​ ​intellectually​ ​disabled,
functioning​ ​in​ ​the​ ​“lower​ ​two​ ​to​ ​three​ ​percent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​general​ ​population,”​ 83
​ ​ ​while​ ​another
described​ ​him​ ​“as​ ​suffering​ ​from​ ​both​ ​low​ ​intelligence​ ​and​ ​‘minimal​ ​cerebral​ ​dysfunction,’​ ​or​ ​a
84
basic​ ​problem​ ​in​ ​the​ ​‘hard​ ​wiring’​ ​of​ ​his​ ​brain.” ​ ​A​ ​school​ ​psychologist​ ​who​ ​evaluated​ ​O'Neal​ ​at
14​ ​years​ ​old​ ​–​ ​when​ ​he​ ​was​ ​having​ ​trouble​ ​keeping​ ​up​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sixth​ ​grade​ ​–​ ​reported​ ​he​ ​had​ ​a
“full-scale​ ​IQ​ ​score​ ​of​ ​64​ ​and​ ​well-below-grade-level​ ​academic​ ​achievement;”​ ​she​ ​recommended
​ ​Fitzpatrick​ ​v.​ ​Robinson,​ ​723​ ​F.3d​ ​624,​ ​637​ ​(6th​ ​Cir.​ ​2013).
​ ​Id​.
74
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Frazier,​ ​115​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​139,​ ​176-77​ ​(2007).
75
​ ​Id.
76
​ ​See​ ​id.
77
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​179.
78
​ ​See​ ​id.​ ​at​ ​177-78.
79
​ ​See​ ​id.​ ​at​ ​177.
80
​ ​Id.
81
​ ​Id.
82
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​O'Neal,​ ​87​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​402,​ ​419​ ​(2000)
83
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​420.
84
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​419.

72
73

85

the​ ​school​ ​place​ ​O’Neal​ ​in​ ​a​ ​“slow​ ​learner”​ ​program. ​ ​On​ ​other​ ​IQ​ ​tests,​ ​O’Neal​ ​scored​ ​a​ ​63,
86
67,​ ​and​ ​71.
David​ ​Sneed
David​ ​Sneed​ ​suffers​ ​from​ ​a​ ​mental​ ​illness​ ​and​ ​has​ ​impaired​ ​cognitive​ ​functioning​ ​that​ ​borders​ ​on
intellectual​ ​disability.​ ​ ​He​ ​has​ ​been​ ​diagnosed​ ​with​ ​“severe​ ​manic​ ​bipolar​ ​disorder​ ​and​ ​a
87
schizo-affective​ ​disorder​ ​involving​ ​hallucinations​ ​and​ ​delusions.” ​ ​In​ ​the​ ​months​ ​leading​ ​up​ ​to
Sneed’s​ ​crime,​ ​“a​ ​treating​ ​physician​ ​concluded​ ​Sneed​ ​was​ ​‘suffering​ ​from​ ​a​ ​mental​ ​illness​ ​of​ ​a
88
severity​ ​requiring​ ​hospitalization.’” ​ ​The​ ​psychiatrist​ ​described​ ​Sneed​ ​as​ ​“‘psychotic,
89
delusional,​ ​and​ ​.​ ​.​ ​.​ ​assaultive.’” ​ ​After​ ​his​ ​arrest,​ ​Sneed​ ​was​ ​initially​ ​found​ ​incompetent​ ​to​ ​stand
90
trial. ​ ​Once​ ​stabilized​ ​on​ ​psychotropic​ ​drugs,​ ​Sneed​ ​regained​ ​his​ ​competency​ ​and​ ​became​ ​a
91
“model​ ​prisoner.”
In​ ​addition​ ​to​ ​this​ ​debilitating​ ​mental​ ​illness,​ ​Sneed​ ​also​ ​has​ ​a​ ​significantly​ ​below-average​ ​IQ,
92
and​ ​doctors​ ​described​ ​him​ ​as​ ​having​ ​“borderline​ ​intellectual​ ​functioning.” ​ ​Two​ ​psychiatrists
who​ ​testified​ ​at​ ​Sneed’s​ ​penalty​ ​phase​ ​both​ ​agreed​ ​that​ ​Sneed’s​ ​mental​ ​illness​ ​and​ ​impaired
93
intellectual​ ​abilities​ ​combined​ ​to​ ​prevent​ ​him​ ​from​ ​appreciating​ ​the​ ​criminality​ ​of​ ​his​ ​actions.
Like​ ​others​ ​discussed​ ​in​ ​this​ ​report,​ ​Sneed​ ​also​ ​suffered​ ​from​ ​serious​ ​physical​ ​and​ ​sexual​ ​abuse
and​ ​neglect.​ ​Sneed’s​ ​mother,​ ​his​ ​sole​ ​caregiver,​ ​“was​ ​taken​ ​to​ ​prison​ ​for​ ​child​ ​endangerment
because​ ​she​ ​was​ ​absent​ ​from​ ​the​ ​home​ ​when​ ​a​ ​fire​ ​occurred​ ​there.​ ​Sneed​ ​and​ ​his​ ​siblings​ ​were
94
then​ ​placed​ ​in​ ​foster​ ​care.” ​ ​Sneed​ ​was​ ​just​ ​a​ ​toddler​ ​when​ ​he​ ​was​ ​sexually​ ​abused​ ​by​ ​members
of​ ​his​ ​foster​ ​family,​ ​and​ ​later,​ ​while​ ​in​ ​elementary​ ​school,​ ​experienced​ ​“severe,​ ​prolonged​ ​sexual
abuse​ ​between​ ​the​ ​ages​ ​of​ ​seven​ ​and​ ​ten”​ ​at​ ​the​ ​hands​ ​of​ ​a​ ​neighbor,​ ​who​ ​forced​ ​him​ ​to​ ​perform
95
fellatio​ ​and​ ​repeatedly​ ​fondled​ ​him. ​ ​Sneed​ ​was​ ​also​ ​sexually​ ​abused​ ​by​ ​his​ ​mother’s​ ​male
friend​ ​“who​ ​during​ ​walks​ ​together​ ​would​ ​sometimes​ ​take​ ​[Sneed]​ ​into​ ​an​ ​abandoned​ ​home,
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​O'Neal,​ ​No.​ ​C-050840,​ ​2006​ ​WL​ ​3457703,​ ​at​ ​*1​ ​(Ohio​ ​Ct.​ ​App.​ ​Dec.​ ​1,​ ​2006).​ ​At​ ​trial,​ ​“Chiappone
noted​ ​that​ ​appellant​ ​completed​ ​twelve​ ​years​ ​of​ ​education​ ​but​ ​was​ ​passed​ ​academically​ ​only​ ​because​ ​he​ ​was​ ​a
very​ ​good​ ​basketball​ ​player.”​ ​O'Neal​,​ ​87​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​at​ ​418..
86
​ ​Based​ ​largely​ ​on​ ​the​ ​single​ ​IQ​ ​score​ ​above​ ​70​ ​and​ ​a​ ​State​ ​expert​ ​who​ ​attributed​ ​Mr.​ ​O’Neal’s​ ​life​ ​skills
deficits​ ​to​ ​psychological​ ​problems​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​intellectual​ ​disability,​ ​the​ ​appellate​ ​court​ ​rejected​ ​the​ ​Atkins
claim.​ ​See​ ​O'Neal​,​ ​2006​ ​WL​ ​3457703,​ ​at​ ​*2-*5.
87
​ ​Sneed​ ​v.​ ​Johnson,​ ​No.​ ​1:-4CV​ ​558,​ ​2007​ ​WL​ ​709778,​ ​at​ ​*34​ ​(N.D.​ ​Ohio​ ​Mar.​ ​2,​ ​2007).
88
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​*57.
89
​ ​Id​.
90
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​*34.
91
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​*58.
92
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Sneed,​ ​63​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​3,​ ​20​ ​(1992).
93
​ ​Id​.
94
​ ​Sneed​,​ ​2007​ ​WL​ ​709778,​ ​at​ ​*58.
95
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​*59.
85

96

where​ ​he​ ​would​ ​give​ ​[Sneed]​ ​money​ ​to​ ​fondle​ ​him​ ​and​ ​perform​ ​oral​ ​sex.”

Angelo​ ​Fears
97

Angelo​ ​Fears​ ​has​ ​an​ ​IQ​ ​of​ ​75. ​ ​Like​ ​many​ ​with​ ​impaired​ ​intellectual​ ​functioning,​ ​Fears’
98
personality​ ​was​ ​that​ ​of​ ​a​ ​“follower,​ ​easily​ ​manipulated.” ​ ​He​ ​comes​ ​from​ ​a​ ​family​ ​with​ ​a​ ​history
of​ ​mental​ ​illness,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​often​ ​hereditary​ ​--​ ​his​ ​mother​ ​suffered​ ​from​ ​depression​ ​and
99
experiencing​ ​repeated​ ​psychiatric​ ​hospitalizations.​​ ​
Like​ ​many​ ​discussed,​ ​Fears​ ​experienced​ ​serious​ ​childhood​ ​abuse.​ ​Fears’​ ​father​ ​threw​ ​the
children​ ​against​ ​walls,​ ​“beat[]them​ ​with​ ​his​ ​fists​ ​or​ ​a​ ​belt,​ ​sho[t]​ ​them​ ​with​ ​a​ ​BB​ ​gun,​ ​and
100
[woke]​ ​them​ ​up​ ​for​ ​beatings.” ​ ​He​ ​made​ ​Fears​ ​and​ ​his​ ​brother​ ​urinate​ ​in​ ​a​ ​sleeping​ ​uncle’s
101
102
mouth, ​ ​and​ ​forced​ ​his​ ​sons​ ​to​ ​fight​ ​with​ ​older,​ ​larger​ ​cousins. ​ ​ ​“[W]hen​ ​Fears​ ​was​ ​very
young,​ ​he​ ​accompanied​ ​his​ ​father​ ​on​ ​visits​ ​to​ ​the​ ​father’s​ ​various​ ​paramours.​ ​The​ ​father​ ​gave
Fears​ ​copious​ ​quantities​ ​of​ ​alcohol​ ​to​ ​persuade​ ​Fears​ ​not​ ​to​ ​tell​ ​his​ ​mother​ ​about​ ​his​ ​father’s
103
dalliances.” ​ ​In​ ​addition,​ ​when​ ​Fears​ ​was​ ​a​ ​teenager,​ ​he​ ​and​ ​his​ ​father​ ​would​ ​drink​ ​all​ ​night
104
105
together. ​ ​By​ ​the​ ​age​ ​of​ ​twelve,​ ​Fears​ ​was​ ​regularly​ ​abusing​ ​alcohol.
YOUTH
Three​ ​of​ ​the​ ​twenty-six​ ​men​ ​committed​ ​their​ ​crimes​ ​before​ ​ ​turning​ ​twenty-one​ ​years​ ​old.​ ​In
Roper​ ​v.​ ​Simmons​,​ ​the​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​prohibited​ ​the​ ​execution​ ​of​ ​juveniles,​ ​concluding​ ​that​ ​their
reduced​ ​culpability​ ​“render[ed]​ ​suspect​ ​any​ ​conclusion​ ​that​ ​a​ ​juvenile​ ​falls​ ​among​ ​the​ ​worst
106
offenders.” ​ ​Because​ ​their​ ​brains​ ​have​ ​not​ ​fully​ ​developed,​ ​juveniles​ ​often​ ​engage​ ​“in
impetuous​ ​and​ ​ill-considered​ ​actions​ ​and​ ​decisions,”​ ​and​ ​are​ ​“more​ ​vulnerable​ ​or​ ​susceptible​ ​to
107
negative​ ​influences​ ​and​ ​outside​ ​pressures,​ ​including​ ​peer​ ​pressure.” ​ ​The​ ​“susceptibility​ ​of
juveniles​ ​to​ ​immature​ ​and​ ​irresponsible​ ​behavior​ ​means​ ​their​ ​irresponsible​ ​conduct​ ​is​ ​not​ ​as

​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​*60.
​ ​Brief​ ​of​ ​Petitioner-Appellant,​ ​Fears​ ​v.​ ​Bagley,​ ​(No.​ ​08-4050),​ ​2010​ ​WL​ ​6571052​ ​(C.A.6)​ ​at​ ​*7.
98
​ ​Reply​ ​Brief​ ​of​ ​Petitioner-Appellant,​ ​Fears​ ​v.​ ​Bagley,​ ​(No.​ ​08-4050),​ ​2011​ ​WL​ ​1461656​ ​(C.A.6)​ ​at​ ​*8;​ ​see​ ​also
Atkins​,​ ​536​ ​U.S.​ ​at​ ​318​ ​(“[I]n​ ​group​ ​settings​ ​[the​ ​intellectually​ ​disabled]​ ​are​ ​followers​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​leaders.”).
99
​ ​Fears​ ​v.​ ​Bagley,​ ​No.​ ​1:01-cv-183,​ ​2008​ ​WL​ ​2782888,​ ​at​ ​*25​ ​(S.D.​ ​Ohio​ ​.
100
​ ​Reply​ ​Brief​ ​of​ ​Petitioner-Appellant,​ ​supra​ ​note​ ​98,​ ​at​ ​*8.
101
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Fears,​ ​No.​ ​C-990050,​ ​1999​ ​WL​ ​1032592,​ ​at​ ​*8​ ​(Ohio​ ​Ct.​ ​App.​ ​1999).
102
​ ​Fears​ ​v.​ ​Bagley,​ ​No.​ ​1:01-cv-183,​ ​2008​ ​WL​ ​2782888,​ ​at​ ​*28.
103
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​*26.
104
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​*28.
105
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Fears,​ ​86​ ​Ohio​ ​St.3d​ ​329,​ ​349​ ​(1999).
106
​ ​Roper​ ​v.​ ​Simmons,​ ​543​ ​U.S.​ ​551,​ ​570​ ​(2005).
107
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​569​ ​(quoting​ ​Johnson​ ​v.​ ​Texas,​ ​509​ ​U.S.​ ​350,​ ​367​ ​(1993)).
96

97

108

morally​ ​reprehensible​ ​as​ ​that​ ​of​ ​an​ ​adult.”​ ​

Although​ ​the​ ​Court​ ​drew​ ​the​ ​line​ ​at​ ​barring​ ​executions​ ​to​ ​those​ ​below​ ​18,​ ​scientific​ ​research​ ​on
brain​ ​development​ ​demonstrates​ ​that​ ​maturation​ ​does​ ​not​ ​occur​ ​until​ ​an​ ​individual​ ​is​ ​well​ ​into
109
his​ ​20s. ​ ​Because​ ​the​ ​same​ ​deficiencies​ ​in​ ​cognitive​ ​processes,​ ​risk-reward​ ​evaluation,​ ​and
110
emotional​ ​regulation​ ​exist​ ​in​ ​young​ ​adults, ​ ​their​ ​culpability,​ ​relative​ ​to​ ​a​ ​mature​ ​adult,​ ​is
likewise​ ​reduced.​ ​For​ ​this​ ​reason,​ ​a​ ​trial​ ​court​ ​in​ ​Kentucky​ ​recently​ ​found​ ​the​ ​death​ ​penalty​ ​was
unconstitutional​ ​for​ ​those​ ​who​ ​committed​ ​their​ ​crimes​ ​before​ ​turning​ ​21.111
Gary​ ​Otte
One​ ​of​ ​these​ ​individuals​ ​is​ ​Gary​ ​Otte​ ​–​ ​the​ ​next​ ​man​ ​scheduled​ ​for​ ​execution​ ​–​ ​ ​who​ ​committed
his​ ​crime​ ​25​ ​years​ ​ago​ ​when​ ​he​ ​was​ ​just​ ​20​ ​years​ ​old.​ ​ ​Otte​ ​also​ ​spent​ ​his​ ​lifetime​ ​suffering​ ​from
112
chronic​ ​depression, ​ ​was​ ​regarded​ ​as​ ​a​ ​“very​ ​sad​ ​little​ ​boy”​ ​who​ ​was​ ​socially​ ​isolated,​ ​had
psychological​ ​problems,​ ​developmental​ ​delays,​ ​learning​ ​disabilities,​ ​and​ ​was​ ​emotionally
113
handicapped. ​ ​Perhaps​ ​in​ ​response​ ​to​ ​these​ ​psychological​ ​difficulties,​ ​Otte​ ​began​ ​abusing
114
115
alcohol​ ​and​ ​drugs​ ​at​ ​age​ ​10, ​ ​and​ ​first​ ​attempted​ ​suicide​ ​at​ ​age​ ​14. ​ ​Six​ ​years​ ​later,​ ​having
116 ​
received​ ​little​ ​help,​ ​he​ ​committed​ ​the​ ​offenses​ ​for​ ​which​ ​he​ ​was​ ​sentenced​ ​to​ ​death. ​ During​
​the
last​ ​25​ ​years,​ ​Otte​ ​has​ ​received​ ​disciplinary​ ​punishment​ ​only​ ​a​ ​handful​ ​of​ ​times,​ ​which​ ​is
remarkable​ ​compared​ ​to​ ​others​ ​with​ ​similar​ ​years​ ​behind​ ​bars.​ ​His​ ​record​ ​shows​ ​just​ ​how​ ​much
an​ ​individual​ ​can​ ​change​ ​once​ ​his​ ​brain​ ​develops.117
William​ ​Montgomery
William​ ​Montgomery​ ​was​ ​only​ ​20​ ​years​ ​old​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​the​ ​offense​ ​for​ ​which​ ​he​ ​was
118
sentenced​ ​to​ ​death. ​ ​ ​Montgomery​ ​may​ ​be​ ​mentally​ ​ill,​ ​according​ ​to​ ​an​ ​evaluating​ ​psychologist,
​ ​Id.​ ​at​ ​570​ ​(quoting​ ​Thompson​ ​v.​ ​Oklahoma,​ ​487​ ​U.S.​ ​815,​ ​835​ ​(1988))​ ​(internal​ ​quotations
omitted).
109
​ ​See​ ​generally​ ​Jay​ ​N.​ ​Giedd,​ ​The​ ​Amazing​ ​Teen​ ​Brain​,​ ​SCI.​ ​AM.,​​ ​June​ ​2015,​ ​at​ ​36;
Laurence​ ​Steinberg,​ ​A​ ​Social​ ​Neuroscience​ ​Perspective​ ​on​ ​Adolescent​ ​Risk-Taking​,​ ​28​ ​Dᴇᴠ.​ ​Rᴇᴠ.​ ​78​ ​(2008).
110
​ ​See​ ​Giedd,​ ​supra​ ​note​ ​109,​ ​at​ ​37;​ ​Steinberg,​ ​supra​ ​note​ ​109.
111
​ ​See​ ​Order​ ​Declaring​ ​Kentucky’s​ ​Death​ ​Penalty​ ​Statute​ ​as​ ​Unconstitutional,​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Bredhold,​ ​No.​ ​14-CR​ ​161
(Ky.​ ​Cir.​ ​Ct.​ ​7th​ ​Div.​ ​Aug.​ ​1,​ ​2017),​ ​available​ ​at
https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/files/pdf/TravisBredholdKentuckyOrderExtendingRopervSimmons.pdf​.
112
​ ​Petition​ ​for​ ​Commutation​ ​of​ ​Sentence,​ ​In​ ​re​ ​Gary​ ​Otte,​ ​CCI​ ​#A264-667​ ​(Jan.​ ​26,​ ​2017)​ ​at​ ​12.
113
​ ​Otte​ ​v.​ ​Houk,​ ​No.​ ​1:06CV1698,​ ​2008​ ​WL​ ​408525,​ ​at​ ​*42​ ​(N.D.​ ​Ohio​ ​Feb.​ ​12,​ ​2008).
114
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​*37,​ ​40.
115
​ ​Petition​ ​for​ ​Commutation​ ​of​ ​Sentence,​ ​supra​ ​note​ ​113,​ ​at​ ​14.
116
​ ​Otte​ ​v.​ ​Houk,​ ​654​ ​F.3d​ ​594,​ ​598-99,​ ​602-03​ ​(6th​ ​Cir.​ ​2011);​ ​Petition​ ​for​ ​Commutation​ ​of​ ​Sentence,​ ​s​upra
note​ ​112,​ ​at​ ​18-19.
117
​ ​Death​ ​Penalty​ ​Clemency​ ​Report,​ ​In​ ​re​ ​Gary​ ​Otte,​ ​CCI​ ​#A264-667​ ​(Feb.​ ​10,​ ​2017)​ ​at​ ​7.
118
​ ​State​ ​v.​ ​Montgomery,​ ​61​ ​Ohio​ ​St.​ ​3d​ ​410,​ ​419​ ​(1991).
108

​ ​and​ ​he​ ​may​ ​also​ ​be​ ​innocent.​ ​ ​ ​The​ ​government​ ​alleged​ ​that​ ​both​ ​Montgomery​ ​and​ ​his​ ​friend,
Glover​ ​Heard,​ ​committed​ ​the​ ​charged​ ​murder,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​only​ ​person​ ​to​ ​clearly​ ​implicate
120
Montgomery​ ​was​ ​Heard,​ ​who​ ​testified​ ​in​ ​exchange​ ​for​ ​a​ ​lenient​ ​plea​ ​deal.​​ ​ ​ ​ ​Almost​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the
121
other​ ​evidence​ ​implicated​ ​Heard,​ ​not​ ​Montgomery​ ​–​ ​Heard​ ​drove​ ​off​ ​with​ ​the​ ​victim’s​ ​car;​​ ​
122
Heard​ ​had​ ​the​ ​victim’s​ ​wallet​ ​in​ ​his​ ​house;​​ ​ ​ ​ ​Heard​ ​gave​ ​the​ ​police​ ​five​ ​different​ ​conflicting
stories,​ ​only​ ​the​ ​last​ ​of​ ​which​ ​implicated​ ​Montgomery;​ ​and​ ​Heard​ ​provided​ ​testimony​ ​that
123
contradicted​ ​all​ ​other​ ​witness​ ​accounts.​​ ​ ​ ​ ​Montgomery​ ​owned​ ​the​ ​murder​ ​weapon,​ ​but​ ​Heard
124
had​ ​access​ ​to​ ​it​ ​on​ ​the​ ​night​ ​of​ ​the​ ​shooting.
119

CONCLUSION
Our​ ​research​ ​suggests​ ​that​ ​the​ ​26​ ​individuals​ ​that​ ​Ohio​ ​intends​ ​to​ ​execute​ ​each​ ​suffer​ ​from​ ​some
combination​ ​of​ ​severe​ ​mental​ ​illness,​ ​intellectual​ ​disability,​ ​serious​ ​childhood​ ​trauma​ ​from
physical​ ​and​ ​sexual​ ​abuse,​ ​or​ ​were​ ​young​ ​adults​ ​with​ ​impaired​ ​judgment​ ​when​ ​they​ ​committed
their​ ​crimes.​ ​ ​The​ ​only​ ​exceptions​ ​are​ ​the​ ​three​ ​men​ ​who​ ​refused​ ​to​ ​allow​ ​defense​ ​attorneys​ ​to
present​ ​mitigating​ ​evidence​ ​–​ ​we​ ​simply​ ​do​ ​not​ ​know​ ​about​ ​their​ ​backgrounds,​ ​however,​ ​our
experience​ ​tells​ ​us​ ​that​ ​their​ ​stories​ ​are​ ​likely​ ​not​ ​dissimilar​ ​from​ ​those​ ​highlighted​ ​in​ ​this​ ​report.
The​ ​Eighth​ ​Amendment​ ​prohibits​ ​the​ ​execution​ ​of​ ​society’s​ ​most​ ​vulnerable​ ​and​ ​limits​ ​its
imposition​ ​to​ ​the​ ​most​ ​culpable​ ​in​ ​our​ ​society.​ ​ ​Unless​ ​the​ ​Governor​ ​or​ ​a​ ​Court​ ​intervenes,​ ​over
the​ ​course​ ​of​ ​the​ ​next​ ​two​ ​years,​ ​Ohio​ ​is​ ​poised​ ​to​ ​violate​ ​that​ ​constitutional​ ​limitation​ ​by
scheduling​ ​the​ ​executions​ ​of​ ​nearly​ ​a​ ​dozen​ ​individuals​ ​with​ ​devastating​ ​impairments,​ ​including
mental​ ​illness,​ ​childhood​ ​abuse,​ ​and​ ​intellectual​ ​disability.

​ ​Montgomery​ ​v.​ ​Bagley,​ ​482​ ​F.​ ​Supp.​ ​2d​ ​919,​ ​991-92​ ​(N.D.​ ​Ohio​ ​2007),​ ​rev’d​ ​sub​ ​nom.​ ​Montgomery​ ​v.​ ​Bobby,
654​ ​F.3d​ ​668​ ​(6th​ ​Cir.​ ​2011).
120
​ ​Montgomery​ ​v.​ ​Bobby,​ ​654​ ​F.3d​ ​668,​ ​673-74​ ​(6th​ ​Cir.​ ​2011).
121
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​673.
122
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​680.
123
​ ​See​ ​id​.​ ​at​ ​704​ ​(Clay,​ ​J.,​ ​dissenting)​ ​(describing​ ​several​ ​inconsistencies​ ​with​ ​other​ ​witnesses).
124
​ ​Id​.​ ​at​ ​693​ ​(Merritt,​ ​J.,​ ​dissenting)​ ​and​ ​703​ ​(Clay,​ ​J.,​ ​dissenting)(“Randleman's​ ​testimony​ ​indicates​ ​that​ ​both
[Montgomery]​ ​and​ ​Heard​ ​had​ ​the​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​take​ ​the​ ​gun​ ​off​ ​of​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​Randleman's​ ​refrigerator​ ​on
their​ ​way​ ​out​ ​of​ ​his​ ​house​ ​that​ ​night.​ ​However,​ ​as​ ​Randleman​ ​himself​ ​admitted,​ ​he​ ​‘d[idn't]​ ​know​ ​who​ ​took
[the​ ​gun]​ ​.​ ​.​ ​.​ ​[he]​ ​never​ ​s[aw]​ ​anybody​ ​take​ ​the​ ​gun.​ ​.​ ​.​ ​.’”).
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