Parishes to offer prayer vigils for Florida man sentenced to death, victims and their families

After eighteen months with no executions in our state, a death warrant has been signed for Mark Asay to be executed on Thursday, August 24, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. Asay received two death sentences for the murders of Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell. If carried out, this will be the first time that Florida executes a white person for the murder of a black person.

Earlier this year, legislation was signed requiring juries be unanimous in recommending death sentences. Although Asay’s jury was not unanimous, his case became final before the June 24, 2002, US Supreme Court’s decision Ring v Arizona. Death cases that were final before then are not being remanded to lower courts for re sentencing as are death sentences that were final after that date. Attorneys continue to argue this partial retroactivity in addition to a new execution drug protocol. We will send you an update if there is a stay of execution based on these or other appeals.

Your parish is encouraged to continue to pray for Mr. Asay, his victims, his family, the victims’ family; for all the public officials involved in this scheduled execution; for Governor Scott, that he will discern God’s will and apply the teachings of our Catholic faith on the death penalty.

Please contact Governor Scott to voice your concern. Parishes are encouraged to participate in prayer services at the parish or to attend a prayer service at the execution site in Starke.

Scheduled Prayer Vigils around the Orlando Diocese:

  • August 22 –  St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 6803 Old Hwy 441 South, Mount Dora, at 11:00 AM.
  • August 24 – Church of Our Savior, 5301 N. Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, at 5:30pm.
  • August 24 –  Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 201 University Blvd, Daytona Beach. Free Transportation will be provided from the Church at 2:00pm. A stop will be made in Palm Coast as well. Please call (386) 255-0433 if you would like to participate.
  • August 24 – St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 4001 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, at 5:30pm.

For more information on the prayer service, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org or 407-658-1818 x 2086.