Governor Commutes Death Sentence For Marion Man

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Joseph Murphy was convicted of brutally killing an elderly Marion woman in 1987.(Photo: ORDC)
Joseph Murphy was convicted of brutally killing an elderly Marion woman in 1987.(Photo: ORDC)

Gov. John Kasich went along with the unanimous recommendation of the parole board in canceling the execution of 46 year old Joseph Murphy, and changing his sentence to life in prison without parole.

Murphy was set to die next month for slashing the throat of 72-year-old neighbor Ruth Predmore while robbing her home in Marion in 1987. His lawyers argued that he was borderline retarded, and a victim of a poverty-stricken and brutal childhood at the hands of an alcoholic father and an ineffective mother; as an example, they noted when he was six his father had traded him for a bottle of moonshine to a man who raped him.

Kasich wrote in a statement that Murphy’s crime was heinous and disturbing, and that the abuse he suffered doesn’t excuse his crime. But he also wrote he agrees with Chief Justice Tom Moyer that Murphy was destined for disaster, and that the death penalty is not appropriate in this case. Fellow justice Herbert Brown had testified for clemency for Murphy at his parole hearing, and members of Predmore’s family had also said they didn’t support his execution for her murder.

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