Bishops Urge Governor Scott to Spare the Life of Mark Asay; Floridians Pray for an End to the Use of the Death Penalty


Contact: Michael B. Sheedy Executive Director (850) 205-6820


Bishops urge Governor Scott to spare the life of Mark Asay
Floridians pray for an end to the use of the death penalty


TALLAHASSEE, FL  – 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. Asay received two death sentences for the 1987 murders of Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell.


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.


"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."


In concluding his letter to the governor, Sheedy notes, “We pray for all involved in this tragic situation: you, as the final authority in the state over Mr. Asay’s life or death; the condemned and his conversion guided by his spiritual advisors; and the victims and their loved ones.”


Prior to Asay’s scheduled execution, Catholic faithful and other concerned Floridians will gather in prayer in locations around the state.


In the Diocese of Palm Beach, a prayer vigil will be starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola, 9999 N. Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens. The service will begin in the chapel followed by a procession and silent vigil in front of the Cathedral from 5:45-6:15 p.m. The vigil is organized by the Respect Life Office of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Palm Beach, and Pax Christi. Members of those organizations, parishes and other supporters from the community will participate.  


The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the Church in matters of public policy and serves as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.
The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.


Mark Asay is scheduled to be executed by the State of Florida on Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. Prior to Asay’s scheduled execution, Catholic faithful and members of the community will gather at the different times and locations to pray for the victims and aggressor, and their families, for our society which continues to impose violence in return for violence, and for an end to the use of the death penalty.

Click here to see a list of locations and times for other prayer vigils

Click here to see the full text of Sheedy’s letter to Governor Scott

# # #