Ronald Phillips, Ohio


Update: November 13, 2013

The execution of Ronald Phillips has been stayed by Ohio Governor John Kasich. Governor Kasich stayed the execution to allow time to consider Ronald’s request to donate his organs. Ronald’s request was originally denied by prison officials, citing logistical and security concerns, as the prison was not equipped for a pre or post execution organ transfer. Under prison medical policy, Ronald could have previously donated his organs, if he requested. Governor Kasich noted that while Ronald’s crime was heinous, the state should allow him to donate his organs to save another’s life. The execution has been rescheduled for July 2, 2014.

Update November 7, 2013

Ohio Governor John Kasich has followed the recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board and rejected clemency for Ronald Phillips on Thursday, November 7, 2013. Also on Thursday, a federal judge rejected an appeal to stop the execution.

November 5, 2013

Ronald Phillips’ is scheduled to be executed at 10 am on November 14, 2013, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio. Forty-year-old Ronald is convicted of killing 3-year-old Sheila Marie Evans on January 18, 1993. Ronald has spent the past 20 years on Ohio’s death row.

On Monday, October 28, 2013, Ohio announced that Ronald Phillips would not be executed using pentobarbital, as Ohio was unable to obtain the drug and/or because prison doctors were unable to locate a suitable vein during Ronald’s check-up. Instead, Ohio will rely on its back up execution protocol and use a combination of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller. These drugs will be injected directly into the Ronald’s muscles. These drugs have not been used together previously in an execution, although Florida recently used midazolam as part of its 3-drug protocol to execute William Happ on October 15, 2013. Ronald’s execution is scheduled for November 14, 2013.


Fae Evans, Sheila’s mother, was dating Ronald Phillips and occasionally cohabitating with him, along with her three children, Shelia, 29-month-old Sara, and Ronald Jr., Phillips’ infant son. On January 18, 1993, Fae took Ronald, Jr. to a doctor’s appointment and left Shelia and Sara to be watched by Phillips. Fae returned to the apartment around 11:25 and found Phillips sitting in the kitchen. When Fae called for her daughters, they failed to respond. Phillips went into the girls’ bedroom, where she found Sheila laying cold, motionless, and pale. Phillips took Sheila downstairs to his grandmother’s apartment, where they called an emergency operator. Since Sheila was not breathing, the operator told Phillips how to perform CPR until paramedics arrived.


Once paramedics arrived, they immediately transferred Sheila to the Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio. Dr. Eugene Izsak, the first doctor to examine Sheila, noticed that she had multiple bruises on her torso, a distended stomach, apparent internal abdominal injuries, and a stretched anus with acute, recent changes. After obtaining a steady pulse, surgery was performed on Sheila, which showed the extent of her severe internal injuries. Sheila died from her injuries later that day.


An autopsy discovered that Sheila had over 125 bruises, many which occurred within hours of her death. Shelia had been severely beaten around her head, face, upper and lower torso, arms, legs, and genitalia. Blows to her abdomen resulted in severe internal injuries. Shelia died as a result of cardiovascular collapse which was the result of sever, blunt force trauma to her abdomen, and numerous complications. Furthermore, it was determined that Shelia had been raped.


That night Phillips was questioned by police. A few days later, Phillips confessed to the police that the morning of Sheila’s murder, she had failed to appear at breakfast after he called her three times. Phillips went into her room, pulled her covers off and began beating her. Phillips admitted to hitting her, throwing her against the wall, and dragging her by her hair. He also admitted to penetrating her anus with his finger, but denied going further, although he confessed that had on two other occasions, because, allegedly, Fae had paid him. Phillips gave a written statement and was arrested shortly thereafter.


Phillips was found guilty by a jury on August 18, 1993. He received the death penalty on September 14, 1993. During his trial evidence was presented that Phillips had a difficult childhood, as his mother was an alcoholic. She would frequently leaver her children, including Phillips, home alone for days at a time, forcing them to beg for food and eat paint chips and garbage. Phillips also spent time in several foster homes in which he was repeated raped and abused.


In a clemency hearing on Thursday, October 24, 2013, the Ohio Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 11-0 to recommend to Governor John Kasich that clemency for Ronald Phillips be denied. During his clemency hearing, Ronald pointed to his physically, verbally, and sexually abusive childhood as reasons for his actions. He claimed he was a product of his environment. Additionally, he claimed that he was young, 19, at the time of the crime and in the years since, he has come to understand what he did and why, and deeply regrets his actions. The board noted that Ronald’s other siblings, who grew up in same environment, have not committed murder, although some have served time. The Board also noted that during his time behind bars, Ronald has had poor institutional conduct, including some recent incidents. The Board will pass along their recommendation to Governor Kasich who will announce his decision at a later date.


Fae was tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering and received a 13 to 30 year sentence. She died of leukemia while in prison on July 8, 2008.


Please pray for peace for the family of Shelia. Please pray for strength for the family of Ronald Phillips. Please pray that Ronald may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.



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