Faith Organizations Call on Governor to Show Grace and Grant Clemency

December 9, 2016
Contact: Amanda Hoyt, 614-483-3168,

Faith Organizations Call on Governor to Show Grace and Grant Clemency

Columbus, OH – On Friday, December 9th, the Ohio Parole Board recommended that death row inmate Ronald Phillips be denied clemency. The Ohio Council of Churches and Faith in Public Life are calling on Governor Kasich to reject the recommendation and demonstrate grace, mercy and redemption by refusing to allow executions in our state.

“Ronald Phillips is a different person today than he was when he killed three-year-old Sheila Marie Evans,” said Rev. Rebecca J. Tollefson, executive director of the statewide partnership of 18 Christian faith denominations. “We do remember the victim and we pray for her, her family and all those connected to this case, including Governor Kasich, who now has the last word. We believe Mr. Phillips can and should be held accountable, and we can do that without killing him.”

“Our greatest call as evangelicals is to make disciples of men. Ronald Phillips has an opportunity to reach the lost and advance the kingdom of God,” said Amanda Hoyt, Ohio Director of Faith in Public Life. Through his ministry, Mr. Phillips is reaching men who need hear the gospel, providing light for those trapped in darkness.”

Tollefson announced a postcard campaign being launched this weekend in conjunction with Ohio Council of Churches members and other faith communities throughout Ohio to urge Governor Kasich to not resume executions after a three-year hiatus. Nearly 100 communities from all corners of the state are participating so far, and those who wish may join the campaign via the web page of our partner in this effort at

The text of the postcard reads:

In the three years since the last Ohio execution there has been no spike in murders. Dangerous criminals are being held accountable and the public is being kept safe without more killing. You have allowed executions and you also have shown grace by extending mercy. You have the standing and compassion to lead Ohio in a direction of grace, mercy and hope by not allowing the resumption of executions.

28 executions are scheduled, starting on January 12, 2017 with Ronald Phillips. By any measure, Phillips committed a horrible crime when he killed 3-year old Sheila Marie Evans. I believe he can and should be held accountable without killing him. Please show mercy toward Mr. Phillips by changing his sentence to life in prison with no possibility of parole, a very severe and appropriate punishment. There is no need to resume executions. Thank you.