CNA Staff, Nov 10, 2023 / 12:30 pm
A state board in Oklahoma this week narrowly recommended clemency for a man convicted of a double murder more than 20 years ago, a decision that Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City urged the state governor to accept.
Coakley thanked the state Pardon and Parole Board for its vote on Wednesday and called on Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt to affirm its recommendation of clemency for Phillip Hancock, who has argued he was acting in self-defense when he committed the 2001 killings for which he was convicted.
“The Catholic Church recognizes the immeasurable harm done to victims of crime and their families, and the need for justice and healing. However, the death penalty is a cruel and archaic method of addressing serious crimes,” Coakley said in a statement shared with CNA.
“Executions serve only to perpetuate cycles of violence and provide no opportunity of healing for victims’ families. We should recall that Our Lord declared those who are merciful as blessed, ‘for they shall receive mercy.’”