Jose Antonio Jimenez is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, Dec. 13, at 6:00 p.m. for the 1992 murder of Phyllis Minas. Governor Rick Scott initially signed Jimenez’ death warrant in July and scheduled his execution for August 14. However, the Florida Supreme Court issued a stay of execution to review the case further. The Supreme Court lifted the stay on Oct. 4.

People light candles to represent those on death row in Florida at the 2017 Cities for Life Event in St. Augustine. (photo by Woody Huband)

In a Dec. 7 letter to Governor Scott on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, executive director, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked the governor a second time to commute Jimenez’ death sentence. “We appreciate your difficult task as governor and still must ask you to commute this death sentence, and all death sentences, to life without the possibility of parole,” said Sheedy.

In August 2018, Pope Francis requested reformulation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s treatment of the death penalty. The revised instruction reflects the growing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of great crimes. Additionally, more effective forms of detention have been developed to ensure the due protection of citizens without definitively depriving the guilty of the possibility of redemption. “For an increasing number of Christians, the death penalty is inadmissible,” noted Sheedy.

Prior to Jimenez’ scheduled execution, Catholic faithful and members of the community will gather across the state to pray for the victims of violent crimes and their families, for those on death row, for Governor Scott as he confronts the decision to proceed with the execution, and for an end to the use of the death penalty.

Click here to read Michael Sheedy’s letter to Governor Scott.

Click here to read the death penalty revision to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Click here to view the full schedule of prayer vigils around the diocese.