Catholic leaders in Ohio stressed the need to replace the death penalty with mercy and spiritual conversion, following the execution of convicted child murderer Ronald Phillips.
Faith leaders and concerned citizens with the group Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) gathered outside the Statehouse on Wednesday as Ronald Phillips was being executed. “We’re here because this is a terrible day for Ohio,” said Rev. Gary Witte. “We don’t need the death penalty in Ohio. It makes us all party to a killing.
After more than 3.5 years, Ohio carried out an execution. During the moratorium on executions, Ohio has failed to adopt long-overdue and sensible recommendations made by experts on the Supreme Court Death Penalty Task Force that would ensure fairness and accuracy of the death penalty system.
After six postponements, the 43-year-old Summit County man was executed Wednesday for a murder he committed 24 years ago, a week into Bill Clinton’s first term as president. Phillips’ victim was Sheila Marie Evans, the 3-year-old daughter of his then-girlfriend.
The ABA is “deeply concerned” about Ohio’s plans to resume executions, according to a statement by ABA President Linda A. Klein. Ohio has not implemented important reforms to improve the accuracy and fairness of the death penalty that were recommended in a 2007 report, according to Klein’s statement.
Justices denied the 43-year-old Phillips a stay on three requests, with a pair of justices dissenting on a request by Phillips that was joined by two other death row inmates with upcoming execution dates. The inmates had asked the court for a delay while they continue challenging Ohio’s new lethal-injection method.
A prisons department spokeswoman said Ronald Phillips arrived at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville at about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. That’s about 24 hours before he is set to die in Ohio’s first execution in more than three years.
Fifteen pharmacology professors are arguing to stop the impending execution of a condemned Ohio killer on grounds that a sedative being used is incapable of inducing unconsciousness or preventing severe pain.