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Parole Board Recommends No Clemency for Death-Row Inmate Ronald Phillips

mugshot of Ronald Phillips
Ronald Phillips was given the death penalty after being convicted of killing of his girlfriend's three-year-old daughter.

The state parole board has voted 10-2 to recommend to Gov. Kasich that Ronald Phillips of Akron be put to death on schedule next month for the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s toddler daughter in 1993.

The parole board’s report notes the killing of a three-year-old is among the worst of the worst capital crimes, and that testimony they heard about the abusive home Ronald Phillips was raised in didn’t indicate how much abuse he personally suffered.

But two parole board members say they’re concerned about conflicting testimony of two doctors about the sexual assault before Sheila Marie Evans’ death. Kasich could still commute Phillips’ sentence to life in prison.

Phillips would be the first person put to death in Ohio in almost three years if he is executed. But it seems unlikely to happen on January 12.

The legal battle over the state’s plans to use a never-before-tried combination of three drugs for lethal injection is just beginning. 

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.