On January 18, 1993, Sheila’s mother, Fae Evans, took her step son to the doctor, leaving her two daughters with her boyfriend, Ronald Phillips. When Evans returned home she had called her daughters and when they did not respond Phillips went to get the girls. He had found Sheila laying on her bed, pale and cold. He bought Sheila downstairs, where is grandmother lived, who then called police. Philip’s grandmother received instructions on how to administer CPR and Phillips attempted to revive Sheila.
Phillips agreed to be interviewed and had admitted to spanking Sheila twice within the days leading up to her death. He had also said he did notice bruises on her buttocks but did not believe he had hit her that hard; he had told Evans he would not hit her again. Phillips also stated that Sheila was not feeling well had vomited multiple times during the last 2 days of her life. Phillips had also told the police that the night before she had died, he had seen Evans standing over Sheila’s bed with closed fits, while Sheila screamed “Please don’t beat me.”
Phillips ended the interview and no arrests were made. The following day, on January 19, 1993, Phillips called to speak with the deceives, who were unable. Court documents show they were attending the autopsy. The next day the detectives went to the school Phillips attended and brought him back to the police for further questioning. At first Phillips only repeated what he had already told detectives two days prior. He then asked one of the detectives to leave and began telling the remaining detective what had happened to cause Sheila’s death.
Ronald Phillips stated in his confession that he “lost it” when Sheila Evans did not come to eat breakfast multiple times. He continued to tell police that he had went into the her bedroom, ripped the blankets off of the bed and began hitting her. During the assault he would dragged her by her hair and threw her in the walls while beating her. Phillips stated that he noticed Sheila was not wearing any underwear, which had sexually aroused him, leading him to sodomize her with his fingers. He had admitted to sodomizing Sheila with his penis two times prior. The interview lasted about three hours, and Phillips was arrested.
Evans was also arrested. It was determined she was home the entire weekend and was aware Sheila was sick and failed to get her medical attention. Though Phillips had claimed that Sheila had been a part of the rapes, there was no collaborating evidence of this. Sheila was charged with child endangering with a physical harm specification, involuntary man slaughter and rape.
When Sheila arrived to the emergency room the first doctor who encountered noticed she abdomen was swollen; Sheila had obvious internal injuries. There were bruises on her stomach and injuries to her anus. The medical team was able to perform CPR and get a pulse and was transferred to an operating room. Sheila needed an emergency operation to her intestines. The dead portion was removed and the doctors tried to control the bleeding. Sheila succumbed to her injuries later that day. The doctor who performed the emergency operation stated that the injuries to Sheila’s intestines were sustained at least two days prior to her hospital visit.
The autopsy revealed the extent of Sheila’s injuries. The coroner documented more than 125 bruises across her entire body. Sheila was “severely beaten about her head, face, upper and lower torso, arms legs, and genitalia.” An examination to her abdomen showed that Sheila had internal trauma and hemorrhaging in multiple organs. Sheila’s intestine which was removed during the emergency operation was examined and the coroner also determined the “the injury to the duodenum had occurred approximately forty-eight hours prior to her death.” Based off of the autopsy, the coroner concluded that “Sheila would have suffered from intense abdominal pain, an inability to eat, vomiting, a high temperature, and listlessness.” The beating also caused the already injured intestine to erupt. Shelia’s autopsy also revealed that she had sustained anal trauma over a period of time, and the most recent was the morning of her death.
Trial & Death Sentence
Evans was indicted on all the charges and had a separate trial from Phillips. Evans was found guilty and she was sentenced to serve between 13 and 30 years.
Phillips was indicted of aggravated murder, with the possibility of the death penalty ; felonies sexual penetration; three counts of rape; felonious assault; and child endangerment. Before the trial started, the state of Ohio, dismissed the assault and endangerment charges. On August 18, 1993, the jury found Philip’s guilty on all counts with the recommendation of death. The court agreed with the recommendation and also sentenced Phillips to three additional life terms for count of rape.
Phillips execution date was set for November 14, 2013. Hours before the execution the Governor of Ohio granted Phillips a stay of execution so he would be able to donate a kidney to his mother. The new execution date was set for July 2, 2014.
While Phillips was waiting for his execution, another death row inmate Dennis McGuire, was put to death on January 18, 2014. This execution was very controversial, and many called it inhumane, as it took 26 minutes for McGuire to die. It was reported that he had clenched fists and was struggling as he appeared to choke to death for at least 10 of the 26 minutes it took after for the administered drugs to work.
McGuire’s death caused all executions to be put on hold while they look for a drug that would replace midazolam. Philip’s execution would be delayed an additional 8 times while the state of Ohio determined which drug combination would be the most humane to use. On June 18, 2017, a federal appeals court determines that executions are Constitutional, which allowed Ohio to resume the death penalty. Phillips was handed another date, which he appealed, and was denied. Philip’s was executed on July 26, 2017 and was pronounced dead at 10:43. There were not any notable complications.
Phillips last words were, “To the Evans family, I’m sorry you had to live so long with my evil actions. All those years I prayed you’d forgive me and find it in your heart to forgive and have mercy on me,” Phillips said in his final statement. “Sheila Marie did not deserve what I did to her. I know she is with the Lord and she suffers no more. I’m sorry to each and every one of you that you lived with this pain all those years. To my family, thank you for your support and faithfulness. Glory be to the lamb. Amen. I love you all and God bless you. Thank you”