Ohio puts child killer to death in first execution in more than three years
As a 19-year-old Ronald Phillips raped and murdered his girlfriend’s toddler
Phillips severely battered 3-year-old Sheila Evans in the head, face and abdomen, threw her against walls and dragged her by the hair. He also sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions
Phillips was sentenced to death for the 1993 rape and murder of Sheila Marie Evans
He got six postponements, and filed several pleas for mercy, claiming to be a changed man
Ultimately Phillips aged 43, was executed on Wednesday morning
He tendered a death chamber apology to the family of his victim
An autopsy of the toddler revealed she suffered from more than 125 bruises, indicating she’d been severely beaten on the head, face, lower torso, arms, legs and genitalia ahead of her death.
Phillips, 19 at the time, also admitted to raping Evans on more than one occasion.
The execution of the 43-year-old death row inmate had been postponed six times, in the end he was killed Wednesday with a three-drug formula that has become popular with states struggling to obtain execution chemicals.
The cocktail includes a sedative that has been featured in several other executions that did not go as planned, though there were no reports of complications in Phillips’ case. Media witnesses said it was far different from Ohio’s last execution, in which the inmate gasped and heaved and took 26 minutes to die.
“It was too easy,” Renee Mundell, half-sister of victim Sheila Marie Evans, told reporters after Phillips was pronounced dead at 10:43 a.m.
I9-year-old Ronald Phillips in 1993 battered Sheila Evans in the head, face and abdomen, threw her against walls and dragged her by the hair. By his admission, he also raped the 3-year-old on more than one occasion
Convicted child rapist and killer, Ronald R. Phillips, was executed Wednesday morning in Ohio
The three drug formula proved instantly lethal in his case and he was pronounced dead at 10:43 a.m., his last words an apology to his victim and her family.“Sheila Marie didn’t deserve what I did to her,” he said in the moments leading up to his injection. “I’m sorry you have had to live so long with my actions.”
Phillips had seen his execution postponed several times, using several ploys including in 2013 when Gov. John Kasich allowed time for a last-minute request by Phillips to donate his organs to relatives. In the end, the request was denied and the state executed murderer Dennis McGuire in his stead, NBC News reported.
Amid worries over the efficiency of the death drugs, scheduled execution dates for 11 inmates scheduled to die in 2016 and one scheduled for early 2017 in Ohio were all pushed into ensuing years through warrants of reprieve issued by Gov. John Kasich.
When McGuire received the lethal injection, made up with an untested combination of drugs, in January 2014, he appeared to struggle with his breath and took nearly 26 minutes to die.
Kasich halted upcoming executions afterwards, and delays in the process continued as the state struggled to find the drugs needed.
After McGuire’s family sued, the state shifted protocol and switched over to the three-drug injection method last year, according to the news station.
Inmates protested, claiming one of the components, the sedative Midazolam, may contribute to a painful death.
Last year, the Ohio Parole Board voted against recommending mercy for Phillips, who claimed to be a changed man after decades behind bars.
The decision was upheld by Gov. John Kasich who rejected clemency pleas for Phillips, but delayed the execution by one month following a federal judge’s order that temporarily put executions on hold in the state.
Ohio Gov John Kasich rejected a last minute mercy plea for Ronald Phillips
Gov. Kasich’s decision was expected given that he rejected mercy plea for Phillips three years earlier, allied with the Ohio Parole Board recommendation against clemency.
“Given the extremely brutal nature of the offense committed against an innocent 3-year-old child, I agree with the Ohio Parole Board’s recommendation that clemency is not warranted in this case,” the governor said in a statement.
Phillips was then scheduled for execution on Feb. 15, the first inmate put to death in Ohio in three years. Phillips was sentenced to die for the 1993 rape and killing of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter
His attorneys argued against the death penalty, given he was just a teen at the time of the murder. The board pushed back, calling the killing “among the worst of the worst.”
Phillips on Tuesday lost his final appeal after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his requests to pursue other legal arguments, which also focused on the state’s three-drug execution method.
Phillips told police he beat Sheila Marie on Jan. 18 after she didn’t respond to his calls for breakfast and admitted to raping her that day and previously.
The girl’s mother discovered her motionless on the bed and rushed her to the hospital. She died following an emergency surgery.