January 5, 2016
– Oscar Ray Bolin, Jr. is scheduled to be executed by the State of Florida on January 7 at 6:00 p.m. for the 1986 murder of Teri Lynn Matthews. If carried out, Bolin would be the 23rd Death Row inmate executed under Governor Rick Scott's leadership. Bolin is serving a separate death sentence for the murder of Stephanie Collins and received a life sentence for the murder of Natalie Blanche Holley.
In a January 5 letter on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, executive director, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, appealed to Governor Scott to stop executions in Florida beginning with Oscar Bolin.
“Our society is increasingly aware of the flaws in the application of the death penalty, which is inconsistent, arbitrary and too often applied in error,” stated Sheedy. “We note that last year, our nation marked a 25-year low in executions. Florida was one of only six states to carry out executions last year, and continues to lead the nation in the number of death row exonerations.”
Sheedy noted Governor Scott’s support for many pro-life measures during his tenure as governor. He urged the governor “to recognize that the life of each person has dignity and should be respected, even those who have done great harm.”
Prior to Bolin’s scheduled execution, Catholic faithful and members of the community will gather to pray for 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.
The full text of Sheedy’s letter to Governor Scott is available online
A list of locations and times for prayer vigils scheduled around the state can be found here.
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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.