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mercoledì 26 luglio 2017
Death penalty for rape, murder of 3-year-old girl
Convicted child rapist and murderer Ronald Phillips was set to die by lethal injection Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his requests for more time to pursue legal challenges.
Phillips, 43, of Akron, was 19 when he raped and beat to death Sheila Marie Evans, the 3-year-old daughter of his girlfriend. Sheila Marie died on Jan. 18, 1993.
Her mother, Fae Amanda Evans, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for failing to protect her daughter and died of cancer in prison in 2008 while serving a 13- to 30-year sentence. Evans, who had an older daughter who also lived with her, also had a child with Phillips — a son who was 2 months old when Sheila Marie was killed.
Phillips was brought into the death house at 10:14 a.m. Tuesday at the maximum security Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Phillips requested a special evening meal of: A large cheese, bell pepper and mushroom pizza; strawberry cheesecake; 2-liter bottle of Pepsi; grape juice; and a piece of unleavened bread.
He was to be allowed visitors, including family and clergy, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The prison will offer Phillips a breakfast meal at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday of biscuits and gravy, grits, milk, sweetener, coffee, and juice.
He will be allowed cell-front visits with his attorney and clergy from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. He then will be allowed to shower and dress.
The prison warden is scheduled to read the death warrant to Phillips at 9:45 a.m.
Then, at 10 a.m., unless there is a stay, Phillips will be the first person to be executed in Ohio in 3½ years using the state’s new lethal injection method that consists of three drugs.
The three-drug formula was devised after the January 2014 execution of Dennis McGuire, who took 26 minutes to die using a two-drug cocktail that included the sedative midazolam. (At the time of Phillips’ conviction, Ohio used the electric chair for executions.)
Death penalty opponents are legally challenging Ohio’s drug cocktail and trying to get a stay on Phillips’ execution. Ohio’s method calls for using midazolam to cause the inmate to become unconscious, followed by a paralyzing agent and then potassium chloride to stop the inmate’s heart.
Phillips and other death row inmates have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay their executions.
Witnesses to the execution, subject to change, include members of Sheila Marie Evans’ family, a relative of Phillips, a spiritual adviser to Phillips, a chaplain and a nurse. There also will be five media witnesses, including a reporter from the Akron Beacon Journal.
Phillips admitted to raping and beating Sheila Marie, who had brown hair, was 3 feet, 1 inch tall and weighed 41 pounds at the time of her death. The girl’s mother allegedly held the girl while she was being raped, according to news reports.
The girl’s grandmother found Sheila Marie after Phillips last beat her and called for help; staff at Children’s Hospital Medical Center briefly revived the girl but could not save her.
The medical examiner said Sheila Marie Evans had 139 bruises on her body when she died; 129 of those bruises happened within a day or two of her death. She also had gangrene in part of her intestines caused by the beatings.
In 1993, after his conviction, Phillips took the stand and asked the jury to spare his life. (He did not testify during his trial.)
“I made a mistake. I wish I could bring little Sheila Marie Evans back. But I can’t,” the Akron Beacon Journal reported him as saying.
He told jurors he had hoped to be a father figure to Sheila and to Sheila’s older sister.
Phillips was initially scheduled to be executed on Sept. 14, 1994.
He has had numerous stays over the past two decades. At one time, he said he wanted to donate his organs to ill relatives.
Gov. John Kasich has previously denied clemency for Phillips.
Sheila Marie’s family members strongly argued against Phillips getting clemency at a hearing in 2016.
Advocates for Phillips, meanwhile, have argued that Phillips had a brutal childhood that included sexual abuse, and that he was now a changed man. They said Phillips should be given a life sentence so that he could become a prison chaplain.
During Phillips’ sentencing, Judge James Williams, who originally sentenced Phillips to death, said there were no reports that Phillips had been abused as a child, and that it appeared he had a supportive family.
Phillips in 1993 told jurors that his parents tried to teach him right from wrong.