The Lethal Injection Debate: Do Killers Deserve Humane Death? – Arizona News

The Lethal Injection Debate: Do Killers Deserve Humane Death? – Arizona News

After decades in this business, after writing or editing story after story about the atrocities human beings can inflict on each other, you can get jaded. You joke about murder: “Heard about Detroit-style chicken? Served faced down in a pool of gravy.”

You start to believe your feelings are immune to the horrors happening outside the news room.

Then you get a call like the one I got from my police reporter at the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal on Monday, January 18, 1993.

Three-year-old, brown-haired, blue-eyed Sheila Marie Evans was dead.

That morning, Akron Police Captain Paul Callahan said, the live-in boyfriend of Sheila Marie’s mother, 6-foot-1, 180-pound Ronald Phillips, “beat her and beat her and beat her.”

And that wasn’t enough.

According to police sources, later confirmed in court, the 19-year-old man became aroused when he saw that Sheila Marie was naked from the waist down.

Yes, he then raped the already bloodied and battered child … as he had done before. Her insides burst. He literally screwed this little girl to death.

So why am I telling you this?

Phillips was executed last week, almost a quarter of a century after he brutalized and killed Sheila Marie Evans.

I suppose I should be happy about that. Maybe part of me is.

But while Phillips was waiting on death row in Lucasville, Ohio, he became a central figure in an ongoing national debate —  Arizona, of course, is right in the middle of it — about how we kill our killers. Whether we must do it humanely … and lawfully.

The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, says we must.

In Arizona, so does a settlement between the state’s Department of…

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