The state of Ohio executed a man for the 1993 killing of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter.
Ronald Phillips was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the killing of 3-year-old Sheila Marie Evans and ultimately put to death over two decades later -- marking the state's first execution in three years. Phillips, who admitted to not only killing the girl but raping her, as well, delivered a final statement before being killed -- saying that the girl "didn't deserve" what happened to her.
"I'm sorry you had to live so long with my actions," he told the girl's family before his death.
The girl's half-sister told CBS News that it was the first time they'd ever heard an apology from him.
"Finally, after 24-and-a-half years, she can rest in peace," the girl's aunt, Donna Hudson, said.
Phillips' execution was delayed a number of times, including in 2013 when a last-minute request to donate organs to his mother was allowed by Gov. John Kasich.
In late 2016, the Ohio Parole Board voted against recommending mercy -- rejecting the argument that Phillips' upbringing played a role in his behavior.
"Phillips' crime involved the killing of a vulnerable 3-year-old victim, an abuse of trust, and extensive victimization, therefore making it among the worst of the worst capital crimes," the board said at the time.
Phillips' attorneys attempted to argue the opposite, despite the board's decision.
"Evidence of Phillips's background, history, dysfunctional upbringing, and his reformed character demonstrate that he should not be executed," attorneys Tim Sweeney and Lisa Lagos wrote in a filing.
Phillips' execution was the 15th in the United States in 2017.
"It's time these nasty people get what they deserve. This sitting in prison with tvs, gyms, food, clothing for years needs to be over. If convicted, take them out back to a tall tree. Maybe when they realize the seriousness, this crap will stop," one Mad World News reader commented on the site's Facebook page in response to the story.
"Should have been put to death in 1993. On what grounds would he have been able to file multiple appeals? There was no doubt he caused the death of the child. Why support his sorry a** for 24 years!!" another wrote.
"Justice was served but way beyond when it should have been. TRUE there are SOME cases where a successful appeal is good. But it's total b.s. to let a depraved individual sit for 24 years while the government pays hundreds of thousands of dollars keeping him alive. We are afforded by constitution to a speedy trial. We can't be held for an extensive time without due process," another added. "So why can't the public be afforded a speedy execution? It used to be that way."