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Florida bishops put pressure on pro-life governor to end executions

06 January 2016 | by Catholic News Service

State one of only six in US to kill people last year

The executive director of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops has increased the pressure on the pro-life Republican governor of Florida Rick Scott to grant a moratorium on executions in the state beginning with Oscar Ray Bolin Jr, who was scheduled to be executed on Thursday (7 January).

"Our society is increasingly aware of the flaws in the application of the death penalty, which is inconsistent, arbitrary and too often applied in error," wrote Michael Sheedy in a letter to the governor on behalf of Florida's bishops this week.

"Florida was one of only six states to carry out executions last year, and continues to lead the nation in the number of death row exonerations," he added.

Sheedy pointed out the juxtaposition of Scott's very vocal support for pro-life measures while he has been governor and the fact that the state that he is in charge of one of only six states last year to carry out executions.

In the letter on 5 January he urged him to "recognise that the life of each person has dignity and should be respected, even those who have done great harm".

In December, the Florida Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Bolin, the 53-year-old convicted killer from the Tampa area. Before the scheduled execution, Florida Catholics planned to gather to pray for Bolin, his victims and their families and for an end to capital punishment.

The court ruled Bolin should be put to death for the December 1986 murder of Teri Lynn Matthews. He also was sentenced to death for the 1986 murder of Stephanie Collins and is serving a life sentence for the 1986 murder of Natalie Holley.

 

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