First Execution in over a Year Scheduled for August 24, 2017

Posted inLocal News

After eighteen months with no executions in our state, Mark Asay is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, August 24, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. The inconsistent and arbitrary application of the death penalty has only become more apparent since Florida’s most recent execution in January 2016. Defendants whose death sentences were finalized after June 2002 have been considered eligible for resentencing hearings. Yet, those, like Mr. Asay, sentenced prior to that date – but under the same unconstitutional system – have been denied relief.

In an August 21 letter on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, executive director, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, appealed to Governor Rick Scott to commute Asay’s death sentence to a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Asay received two death sentences for the 1987 murders of Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell. “Indeed, Mr. Asay’s violent acts call out for justice and should be condemned,” said Sheedy. “However, life without parole is an alternative and severe sentence. We hold that if non-lethal means are available to keep society safe from an aggressor, then authority must limit itself to such means.” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2267)

All life is sacred. Even those who have committed terrible deeds and caused great pain possess a God-given dignity that is neither earned nor can it be forfeited. We are, therefore, called to be consistently pro-life, protecting life in all of its forms and all of its stages.

Prayer Opportunities in our Diocese
Please join us to pray for the condemned, his victims and their families. We also pray for all of the victims of violent crimes and their families, for people on death row awaiting execution, and for the end of the use of the death penalty.

– A prayer vigil will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Parish (4843 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday, FL 34690) at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23. The vigil will take place in the Chapel during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

– A prayer vigil will be held at Our Lady of Fatima Parish (550 S US Highway 41, Inverness, FL 34450) at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 24.

– Spirit FM 90.5  will be praying on air at 5:50 p.m., Thursday, August 24 (online at

– A Rosary for Life will be prayed at Nativity Parish (705 E Brandon Blvd, Brandon, FL 33511) at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 24. The Rosary will take place at the Memorial to the Unborn, just outside the west wall of the main Church.

Contact Governor Scott:
Please send a message to Governor Scott urging him to commute Mark Asay’s death sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and to stop signing death warrants. Click here to send your message through the Voter Voice Network.