"I have a duty to carry out the law, and in this case I actually was prepared to delay the execution out of courtesy for and respect for the pope's passing," Bush told reporters Tuesday in Tallahassee. "But I also have a duty to have sympathy for the victims, and so we checked with the victims, and they were already prepared and ready to be at the execution and to be there so they could have closure, and I decided to carry it out. It was a grotesque crime."
And then the Florida Conference of Bishops said this:
"The Catholic Bishops of Florida appeal to Governor Bush to commute the death sentence of Glen Ocha, scheduled for execution on April 5. The feelings of despair that have led Mr. Ocha to request execution will rob him of the possibility of redemption and forgiveness for his crime.And then Abe Bonowitz of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty said this:
"We mourn for the family of his victim, Carol Skjerva, but killing Mr. Ocha will not compensate for their loss but only diminish respect for all life in all circumstances. Pope John Paul II, during his 1999 visit to St. Louis, stated "the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil.
"The alternative sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole protects society from harm and punishes individuals for their transgressions. We believe a national decrease in executions shows there is dwindling support for the death penalty since society can otherwise be protected from those who have harmed others.
"Governor Bush, we ask that you stay Glen Ocha's execution and commute his sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole."
"Instead of honoring Pope John Paul II, Governor Bush has today chosen to mock him. The Pope has been outspoken about the value of all life, and repeatedly called for an end to the use of the death penalty.
"Governor Bush, a convert to Catholicism, has clearly demonstrated that he's willing to inject his religion and personal beliefs into his politics. He has pushed through unconstitutional legislation to try to codify his beliefs on the sanctity of life. Governor Bush's claim that he is only carrying out the law when he executes prisoners simply reeks of hypocrisy. As Terry Schiavo is mourned this evening, Glen
Ocha gets his wish: Suicide-by-Governor."