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 | Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic Bishops Urge Governor DeSantis to Spare the Life of Darryl Barwick

April 27, 2023 | Catholics believe in protecting human life from conception to natural death.

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) has requested that Gov. Ron DeSantis stay the execution of Darryl Barwick and commute his sentence to life without parole. Barwick is scheduled to be executed on May 3, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. for the 1986 murder of Rebecca Wendt in Panama City, Florida.

In an April 26 letter to DeSantis on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, FCCB executive director, recognized the tremendous grief and suffering caused by Barwick’s crime but urged that taking Barwick’s life in return is not the solution. 

“Executing Mr. Barwick will not undo the violent acts he perpetrated against Ms. Wendt but rather will perpetuate a cycle of violence,” said Sheedy. “State-sanctioned killing only continues to foster disrespect for the dignity and sacredness of human life. Taking another life is unnecessary, as society can be kept safe from Mr. Barwick through the severe and appropriate punishment of life-long incarceration.”

Before Barwick’s scheduled execution, Floridians will gather across the state to pray for the victim and the condemned, for DeSantis as he considers the request to stay the execution, and for an end to the use of the death penalty.

The full text of the letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis is available online.