State rejects execution delay for man who raped, killed girl

AP News
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Posted: Dec 05, 2016 5:40 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state has rejected a proposal to temporarily delay the January execution of a man set to die for the 1993 rape and killing of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter.

Assistant Ohio attorney general Thomas Madden ruled out the possibility of a one-month reprieve for death row inmate Ronald Phillips in a Friday email made public Monday.

The state and attorneys for Phillips discussed the possibility of a reprieve while arguments are made over Ohio's new three-drug lethal-injection method.

Phillips, who was found guilty by a jury, is scheduled to die Jan. 12. An initial proposal would have postponed the execution until Feb. 15.

Madden's email said the proposal was rejected after Phillips' attorneys proposed a delay until April.

Phillips' attorneys also went beyond the agreement by not limiting the issues that a federal judge would consider during arguments over the new lethal-injection method, Madden said.

"As we seem to be unable to reach an agreement, we consider the matter closed," according to Madden's email, included in a Monday court filing.

The attorney general's office declined to comment. Messages were left for Phillips' attorneys.

Phillips is the first death row inmate scheduled for execution next year under a new process for putting condemned prisoners to death.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction plans to execute Phillips and two other inmates with a three-drug combination that's similar to a method it used several years ago.

Phillips, 43, was sentenced to death for the fatal attack on Sheila Marie Evans. His attorneys have asked the Ohio Parole Board to recommend clemency, with a decision coming Friday.

The case is tragic, but Phillips is not among the worst of the worst offenders, his attorneys told the board.

Summit County prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh says Phillips refuses to accept responsibility and it's time for justice to be served.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/andrew-welsh-huggins