DEATH PENALTY

Society has a duty to defend life against violence and to reach out to victims of crime. Yet our nation’s increasing reliance on the death penalty cannot be justified. Because we have other ways to protect society that are more respectful of human life, the Catholic church supports efforts to end the use of the death penalty and, in the meantime, to restrain its use through broader use of DNA evidence, access to effective counsel, and efforts to address unfairness and injustice related to application of the death penalty.

NEWS

December 17, 2014: Lethal Injection bill passes Ohio Senate. House concurred on Wednesday, December 17

HB 663 was significantly amended and passed by the General Assembly. Governor is expected to sign. Floor votes

Video of Senate floor debate. Senators Lehner, Jones, Brown, Kearney, Skindell and LaRose offer strong reasons to oppose HB 633.

Catholic Conference of Ohio testimony on HB 633


September 5, 2014: DRC Issues Revised Execution Schedule in Wake of Federal Moratorium

With U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost having stopped Ohio executions until at least the beginning of 2015, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) issued a revised execution calendar with six inmates scheduled to die in 2015 and five scheduled in 2016.

The new schedule is as follows:

Feb. 11, 2015 - Ronald R. Phillips, Summit
March 12, 2015 - Raymond Tibbetts, Hamilton
May 14, 2015 - Gregory Lott, Cuyahoga
July 15, 2015 - Warren K. Henness, Franklin
Sept. 17, 2015 - William Montgomery, Lucas
Nov. 17, 2015 - Robert Van Hook, Hamilton
Jan. 21, 2016 - Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl, Hamilton
March 23, 2016 - Alva Campbell, Jr., Franklin
May 18, 2016 - Angelo Fears, Hamilton
July 20, 2016 - Cleveland R. Jackson, Allen
Sept. 21, 2016 - Kareem M. Jackson, Franklin

August 12, 2014: Moratorium Extended to January 15, 2015

May 28, 2014: Judge orders temporary moratorium on Ohio executions

U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost has ordered a temporary moratorium on executions in Ohio while legal issues related to new lethal injection protocol are worked out.

The order stops the scheduled July 2 execution of Ronald Phillips of Summit County and the Aug. 6 execution of William Montgomery of Lucas County. Two other executions scheduled later in the year are not affected for the time being, but Frost left his order open-ended.

Frost said an execution can be scheduled no earlier than Aug. 15. [MORE]




Supreme Court of Ohio's Joint Task Force on the Death Penalty .

Reports and Meeting Information

Catholic Conference of Ohio Press Statement commending Justice O'Connor for establishing the Task Force


April 2014: Ohio Supreme Court Task Force on the Death Penalty Issues Report.

Final Report

Minority Report



May 8, 2014: Judge James Brogan is the chairman of the Task Force. In his first public remarks as the Task Force completes its work, he explained the Task Force recommendations and addressed concerns expressed in a minority report

The Honorable Judge James Brogan from Sabercomm on Vimeo.


April 30, 2014: Kasich Commutes Death Sentence of Arthur Tyler

Gov. John Kasich announced Wednesday evening that he has commuted the death sentence of Arthur Tyler to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Tyler was convicted in Cuyahoga County in 1986 for the murder of 74-year-old Sander Leach. The Ohio Parole Board granted Tyler a unanimous recommendation of executive clemency on Tuesday.

“After carefully reviewing the case record with my legal counsel and studying the recommendations of the parole board, I’ve decided to commute Arthur Tyler’s sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole,” Kasich said in a statement. “The questions that continue around this case are fundamental and the irregularities in the court proceedings are troubling. Arthur Tyler’s crime against Sander Leach and his family was heinous and this commutation in no way diminishes that and I pray that Mr. Leach’s family can find peace and healing.”


April 29, 2014: Unanimous Parole Board Seeks Clemency for Arthur Tyler

Majority recommends immediate parole, while rest calls for parole review in two years.

After 30 years on Death Row, two separate trials, and multiple appeals, 54-year-old Arthur Tyler has won a unanimous recommendation of executive clemency from the Ohio Parole Board. The board vice chair also concluded Tuesday that repeated confessions by an alleged co-conspirator and possible misconduct by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office in 1983 had justified consideration of Tyler's immediate parole.[More]

Parole Board Report


April 2014: Ohio Supreme Court Task Force on the Death Penalty Issues Report.
Final report Due in Early May


Majority Report

Minority Report


April 28, 2014: DRC Revises Method of Execution, Though It Finds McGuire Execution ‘Humane’

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) has concluded after a three-month review that the January execution of Dennis McGuire – a first-time lethal injection of midazolam and hydromorphone described by some as “agonizing” and “horrific” – was “humane” and “dignified,” but also that the state should revise its method of execution by increasing the dose of the drugs.[More]

Department Report


Fr. Hummer, Spiritual Advisor to Dennis McGuire, Offers a Compelling Eyewitness Account

"...Putting my opposition to the death penalty to one side, there remains what I saw with my own eyes last Thursday. I don't know how any objective observer could come up with any conclusion other than that was an evil act.

Now that almost a week has passed, and I've had time to reflect, I ask that the governor of Ohio or the legislature end the death penalty in this state. It serves no purpose. People must seize this culture of death and stop it..."


Federal lawsuit being filed against the state of Ohio over the troubled execution of Dennis McGuire
Lawsuit is not for money, but to stop this particular execution procedure


Ohioans to Stop Execution (OTSE) calls for a moratorium on Ohio's death penalty


Dennis McGuire Struggles, Gasps Repeatedly Due To Ohio's New Lethal Injection Procedures

Dennis McGuire, Preble County, was executed in Ohio on January 16, 2014 for the death of Joy Stewart. His execution used a two drug mix that had never before been tried. This execution procedure resulted in Mr. McGuire gasping for air and chocking for at least ten minutes. He was pronounced dead at 10: 53 am. The drug injection started at 10: 29 am. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. [More]

News account of the execution quotes Mr. McGuire's attorney: “The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled by what was done in their name.”


"The Catholic Church believes that the death penalty is an unnecessary and systemically flawed form of punishment. The Catholic Bishops of Ohio consistently have advocated for an end to the death penalty. We seek mercy because we believe that spiritual conversion is possible and that all life, even that of the worst offender, has value and dignity.

Today, given the means available to the State for dealing with crime, cases where it is absolutely necessary to use the death penalty are practically nonexistent. In other states and countries, life imprisonment has shown itself to be an effective alternative." (Excerpt from Catholic Conference of Ohio's letter to Governor Kasich seeking clemency for Mr. McGuire)




January 22, 2014: HB 385, to abolish the death penalty in Ohio, has Sponsor Testimony. Bill pending the House Judiciary Committee


December 3, 2013: Death Penalty Abolition Bill to be Introduced [More]

Catholic Conference of Ohio Statement



November 11, 2013: Ohio to use two drug backup in executing Ronald Phillips.
Mr. Phillips would like to donate his organs



Ohio OKs Compounding Pharmacies for Lethal Injection Drug, Adds Two Drugs to Backup Protocol

Ohio announced a fifth attempt at a viable lethal injection protocol on Friday, October 4, 2013. The latest protocol affirmed pentobarbital as the drug of choice for executions and allows compounding pharmacies to mix the lethal dose of the drug. Two other drugs, Hydromorphone and Midazolam, were added as a back up to pentobarbital.
[More]


Former Ohio Attorney General, Jim Petro, calls for the elimination of the death penalty August 2013

New execution drug sought. Ohio to establish new death penalty procedures August 2013


August 4, 2013: Mr. Slagle is found dead in his cell having hanged himself. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. CALLS TO GOVERNOR KASICH FOR A MORATORIUM ARE ENCOURAGED. [MORE]


June 13, 2013: Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Stratton urges the end of Ohio's death penalty [MORE]

Brochure on the Death Penalty: Includes Pope Benedict XVI's November, 2011 statements to eliminate the death penalty. Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty

On February 14, 2012, proponent testimony on SB 270 (abolish Ohio's death penalty) was held in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Catholic Conference of Ohio testimony in support of SB 270.

Ohio death row prisoner exonerated January 23, 2012

Joe D'Ambrosio was wrongfully convicted of the 1989 murder of Anthony Klann in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County prosecutors withheld 10 pieces of evidence that would have exonerated D’Ambrosio at his trial and implicated another suspect in the crime. [MORE]

December 15, 2011: Proponent testimony on bill to end Ohio's death penalty, HB 160, was heard in the House Criminal Justice Committee.

Catholic Conference of Ohio Testimony in Support of HB 160

Proponent Testimony on HB 160 by Professor Larry Herman, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University



CATHOLIC RESOURCES

"The Culture of Life"
A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death stands as a call for the nation to abandon the use of the death penalty and move one step closer to building a culture of life. People like Bud Welch whose daughter died in the Oklahoma City bombing and David Kaczynski, brother of the Unibomber, are some of the voices that have joined with the bishops in this campaign to end the use of death penalty. The stories and narrative highlight the flaws in the death penalty and movingly advocate that Catholics oppose the death penalty in order to build a culture of life.

Study Guide on The Culture of Life


Catholic Teachings from the Vatican on the Death Penalty

Catechism of the Catholic Church: Fifth Commandment

Prayer to End the Use of the Death Penalty USCCB

Educational Flyer/Bulletin Insert: Life Matters: The Death Penalty October 2011

Educational Flyer/ Bulletin Insert Divine Mercy and the Death Penalty October 2010

Educational Flyer: Catholic Teachings and Ohio's Death Penalty October, 2010

Educational Flyer: What Every Catholic Should Know About the Death Penalty

Catholic Campaign to End the Death Penalty Website



Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty
(This web page includes up-to-date information and useful resources for Catholics.

Bishops' Statements:

Ohio Catholic Bishops statement calling upon the Governor and legislative leaders to end the death penalty 2/11

Divine Mercy and the Death Penalty (2010) Respect Life Booklet 2010-2011

A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death. U.S. Bishops, November 2005

On the Death Penalty - Reflections from Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, 9/2001

Renewing Our Call to End the Death Penalty - USCCB, 11/2000

A Good Friday Appeal to End the Death Penalty. U. S. Bishops, April 1999

Justice & Mercy: Reassessing the Death Penalty Ohio Bishops,1987

Shortening Death Penalty Appeal Procedures Ohio Bishops, June 7, 1994

Affirming Justice & Mercy: Reassessing the Death Penalty Ohio Bishops, June 28, 1996



Ohio Execution Alerts

Ohio changes drug used in lethal injections. 1/26/2011

Ohio Department of Corrections changes execution procedures to one drug. November, 2009

Pending Executions in Ohio

2015

February 11, 2015
Ronald R. Phillips, Summit County, had been rescheduled for execution on July 2, 2014 for the death of Sheila Marie Evans. He was originally scheduled for execution on November 14, 2013, but was granted a stay to investigate the possibility of providing organ donations.

March 12, 2015
Raymond Tibbetts, Hamilton County, had been scheduled for execution on October 14, 2014 for the deaths of Judith Sue Crawford and Fred Hicks.

May 14, 2015
Gregory Lott, Cuyahoga County,was scheduled for execution on November 19, 2014 a for the death of John McGrath. Mr. Lott had three previous execution dates stayed; one onMarch 19, 2014, one on August 27, 2002, and one on April 27, 2004.

July 15, 2015
Warren K. Henness , Franklin County, had been scheduled for execution on January 7, 2015 for the death of Richard Myers
September 17, 2015
William Montgomery, Lucas County, had been scheduled for execution on August 6, 2014 for the deaths of Debra Ogle and Cynthia Tincher.

November 17, 2015
Robert VanHook, Hamilton County, had been scheduled for execution on March 12, 2015 for the death of David Self


2016

January 21, 2016
Jeffrey Wogenstahl, Hamilton County, had been scheduled for execution on May 14, 2015 for the death of Amber Garrett.

March 23, 2016
Alva Campbell Jr., Franklin County, had been scheduled for execution on July 15, 2015 for the death of Charles Dials

May 18, 2016
Angelo Fears, Hamilton County, had been scheduled for execution on September 17, 2015 for the death of Antwan Gilliam

July 20, 2016
Cleveland Jackson, Allen County, had been scheduled for execution on November 17, 2015 for the death of Leneshia Williams

September 21, 2016
Kareem Jackson, Franklin County, had been scheduled for execution on January 21, 2016 for the deaths of Antonio Hunter and Terrance Walker.


Ohio Executions 2011

Frank Spisak, Jr. was executed on February 17, 2011 for the deaths of Rev. Horace Rickerson, Brian Warford, and Timothy Sheenan from Cuyahoga County. The time of death was 10:34 am. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Johnnie Baston was executed on March 10, 2011 for the death of Chong Hoon Mah from Lucas County. He was pronounced dead at 10:30 am. He was the first inmate to die using a single-drug injection of pentobarbital. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Clarence Carter, Hamilton County, was executed on April 12, 2011 for the death of fellow prisoner Johnny Allen. He was pronounced dead at 10:25 am. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Daniel Bedford, Hamilton County, was executed on May 17, 2011 for the deaths of Gwen Toepfert and John Smith. He was pronounced dead at 11:18 AM. The execution was delayed by court proceedings regarding his dementia and difficulties in inserting an intravenous line. Mr. Bedford participated in Mass and Communion prior to his execution. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Reginald Brooks, Cuyahoga County, was executed on November 15, 2011 for the deaths of his three children, Reginald Jr., Vaughn, and Niarchos. He was pronounced dead at 2:04 PM after last minute appeals regarding his mental illness failed. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Ohio Executions 2012

Mark Wiles, Portage County, was executed on April 18, 2012 for the death of Mark Klima. He was pronounced dead at 10:42 am. His death ended an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty that occurred while the state and a federal judge wrangled over Ohio's lethal injection procedures. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Donald L. Palmer, Belmont County, was declared dead at 10:35 am on September 20, 2012 for the deaths of Charles Sponhaltz and Steven Vargo. Mr. Palmer did not request clemency. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Brett X. Hartmann, Summit County, was declared dead at 10:34 AM on November 13, 2012 for the death of Winda Snipes. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Ohio Executions 2013

Frederick Treesh, Lake County, was executed on March 6, 2013 for the death of Henry Dupree. He was pronounced dead at 10:37 AM. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Steven T. Smith, Richland County, was executed on May 1, 2013 for the death of Autumn Carter. He was pronounced dead at 10:27 AM. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Harry Mitts Jr., Cuyahoga County, was executed on September 25, 2013 for the deaths of John Bryan and police sergeant Dennis Glivar. Time of death was 10:39 A.M. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.



Ohio Executions 2014

Dennis McGuire, Preble County, was executed on January 16, 2014 for the death of Joy Stewart. His execution used a two drug mix that had never before been tried. This execution procedure resulted in Mr. McGuire gasping for air and chocking for at least ten minutes. He was pronounced dead at 10:53 am. The drug injection started at 10:29 am. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. [More]


Delayed Executions in Ohio

May 28, 2014: Federal Judge issues a temporary moratorium on the executions of Ronald Phillips and William Montgomery


Ronald R. Phillips, Summit County, had been rescheduled for execution on July 2, 2014 for the death of Sheila Marie Evans. He was originally scheduled for execution on November 14, 2013, but was granted a stay to investigate the possibility of providing organ donations.

William Montgomery, Lucas County, was scheduled for execution on August 6, 2014 for the deaths of Debra Ogle and Cynthia Tincher.


On February 7, 2014, Governor Kasich rescheduled the execution of Gregory Lott to November 19, 2014 to give the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction time to complete its internal review of the problems encountered during the January 16, 2014 execution of Dennis McGuire.

Gregory Lott, Cuyahoga County,was scheduled for execution on March 19, 2014 for the death of John McGrath. Mr. Lott had two previous execution dates stayed; one on August 27, 2002, the other on April 27, 2004.


On July 8, 2011, federal judge Gregory Frost delayed the July 19, 2011 execution of Kenneth Smith. He ruled that Ohio's death penalty procedures are enforced haphazardly. [MORE]

Kenneth W. Smith, Butler County, was scheduled for execution on July 19, 2011 for the deaths of Lewis and Ruth Ray.

On September 2, 2011, Governor Kasich delayed the September 20, 2011 execution of Billy Slagle till August 7, 2013. There are continued concerns over Ohio's death penalty procedures.

Billy Slagle, Cuyahoga County, was scheduled for execution on Sept. 20, 2011 for the death of Mari Anne Pope. [More]


On January 11, 2012, Judge Frost, from the federal 6th Circuit Court, halted the execution of Charles Lorraine due to concerns over the State's ability to follow their own execution protocols.

Charles Lorraine, Trumbull County, was scheduled for execution on January 18, 2012 for the deaths of Raymond and Doris Montgomery.

On February 8, 2012, the U. S. Supreme Court allowed Ohio's temporary delay on executions to remain indefinitely.

Michael Webb, Clermont County, was scheduled for execution on February 22, 2012 for the death of his son, Michael Patrick Webb.

On June 14, 2013, the Cuyahoga Court ruled that Mr. Awkal was too mentally ill to be executed. Cuyahoga County Judge Stuart Friedman said. "Abdul Awkal may not be executed unless and until he has been restored to competency."

On June 18, 2012, Ohio Supreme Court stayed the rescheduled June 20, 2012 execution of Abdul Awkal.

Parole board was not unanimous in recommendation of death. Mental heath concerns raised in 8-1 vote [MORE]

Catholic Conference of Ohio letter requesting clemency

Letter from the Ohio Legislative Mental Health Caucus

Abdul Hamin Awkal, Cuyahoga County,was scheduled for execution on June 6, 2012 for the deaths of Latife Awkal and Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz.


On November 13, 2013, Governor Kasich rescheduled the execution of Ronald R. Phillip to July 2, 2014 so the state can consider whether he may become an organ donor.

Mr. Phillips, Summit County, was scheduled for execution on November 14, 2013 for the death of Sheila Marie Evans.



Ohio Commutations

CLICK HERE for a listing of the commutation actions taken by the Catholic Conference of Ohio, including letters to the Governor on behalf of the Catholic Bishops in Ohio.

2003

On June 26, 2003, Governor Bob Taft commuted the sentence of inmate Jerome Campbell to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


2008

On January 9, 2008, Governor Ted Strickland commuted the sentence of inmate John Spirko to life in prison without parole eligibility.



2009

On February 12, 2009, Governor Ted Strickland, in agreement with the recommendation from the Ohio Parole Board, commuted the sentence of inmate Jeffrey Hill to life with parole eligibility after 25 years.



2010

On June 4, 2010, Governor Ted Strickland, in agreement with the recommendation from the Ohio Parole Board, commuted the sentence of inmate Richard Nields to life without the possibility of parole.

On September 2, 2010, Governor Ted Strickland commuted the sentence of inmate Kevin Keith to life without the possibility of parole.

On November 15, 2010, Governor Ted Strickland commuted the sentence of inmate Sidney Cornwell to life without the possibility of parole.


2011

On September 26, 2011, Governor Kasich commuted the death sentence of Joseph Murphy to life without parole. Joseph Murphy, Marion County, was scheduled for execution on Oct. 18, 2011 for the death of Ruth Predmore.

On June 8, 2011, Governor Kasich commuted the death sentence of Shawn L. Hawkins ( Hamilton County). Mr. Hawkins was scheduled for execution on June 14, 2011.


2012

On July 10, 2012, Governor Kasich commuted the death sentence of John Eley to life without parole.
John Eley, Mahoning County, was scheduled for execution on July 26, 2012 for the death of Ihsan Aydah.

On December 17, 2012, Governor Kasich commuted the death sentence of Ronald Ray Post to life without parole. Mr. Post, Lorain County, was scheduled for execution on January 16, 2013 for the death of Helen Vantz.


2014

On April 30, 2014, Governor Kasich commuted the death sentence of Arthur Tyler to life without parole. The Parole board unanimous clemency recommendation called for a commutation to life with parole. Mr. Tyler, Cuyahoga County, was scheduled for execution on May 28, 2014 for the death of Sander Leach.



Ohio Exonerations/Releases

September 8, 2012: Michael Keenan was released from Ohio's Death Row [MORE]

Joe D'Ambrosio, Ohio conviction: 1989, Charges dismissed: January 23, 2012 [MORE]



Gary Beeman, Ohio Conviction: 1976, Acquitted: 1979

Dale Johnston, Ohio Conviction: 1984, Charges Dismissed: 1990

Timothy Howard, Ohio Convicted: 1976, Charges Dismissed: 2003

Gary Lamar James, Ohio Convicted: 1976, Charges Dismissed: 2003

Derrick Jamison, Ohio Conviction: 1985, Charges Dismissed: 2005


Ohio Death Penalty Legislation

HB 244 (Becker): Expand the Death Penalty for rape and other sex related crimes (Ariel Castro case) August 2013


Catholic Conference of Ohio Testimony in Support of Abolishing the Death Penalty 2011

Catholic Conference of Ohio press statement in support of HB 160. 3/14/2011


SB 77: Signed into law. Effective July 2010. Provides for enhanced DNA testing and safeguards.


Death Penalty Educational Resources

U.S. Catholic Bishops Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty.

History of the Death Penalty in Ohio with pictures. Updated 9/6/2011

History of the Death Penalty in Ohio without pictures. Updated 9/6/2011

Ohio Executions, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

Death Penalty in Ohio: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections

Ohio Clemency Reports: Ohio Department of Corrections

Religion and the Death Penalty, Death Penalty Information Center

Special Report: Death Row in Ohio, Dayton Daily News. 2/23/09

Educational Flyer: Catholic Teachings and Ohio's Death Penalty October, 2010

A Declaration of Life - Release form indicating a personal preference that the death penalty not be pursued should I become a murder victim.

The Death Penalty: Time to Reassess - Color flyer

Death Penalty Tools - Resource list from Interfaith Coalition to Stop Executions

Resource Listing regarding the Death Penalty- Updated November 2004.


Links

Ohioans to Stop Executions website

National Death Penalty Information Center

Ohio Dept. of Correction's Listing of Executions in Ohio, 1999 to Present

Catholic Campaign Against the Death Penalty

Ohio Public Defenders Office

Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty

Ohio Death Row Blog


IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE DEATH PENALTY IN OHIO:
Ohioans To Stop Executions Education and Action Resources, 2007

Introduction and Table of Contents

Background on Ohioans To Stop Executions

Issues of Concern: Innocence, Fairness and Equity, Mental Illness, Cost, National Trends, Lethal Injection

Death Penalty Quotes

History of the Death Penalty in Ohio

History of the Death Penalty in Ohio with Photos

Death Penalty Studies & the Need for a Moratorium


OHIO CATHOLIC STUDENTS FOR PEACE & JUSTICE CALL FOR THE END OF THE DEATH PENALTY:

Catholic Students for Peace and Justice Website


Information on Contacting Elected Officials
CLICK HERE

Click here to Contact Governor Kasich.
Ask him to end the use of the death penalty

Need More Information

Contact Jim Tobin , 614-224-7147.

© Catholic Conference of Ohio