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September 17, 2012

"Ohio inmate says he's too obese for execution"

I am not sure I need to add much the to above-quoted headline from this new Columbus Dispatch story, but full story actually includes a number of weighty details:

A condemned Ohio inmate who weighs at least 480 pounds wants his upcoming execution delayed, saying his weight could lead to a "torturous and lingering death."

Ronald Post, who shot and killed a hotel clerk in northern Ohio almost 30 years ago, said his weight, vein access, scar tissue and other medical problems raise the likelihood his executioners would encounter severe problems. He's also so big that the execution gurney might not hold him, lawyers for Post said in federal court papers filed Friday.  "Indeed, given his unique physical and medical condition there is a substantial risk that any attempt to execute him will result in serious physical and psychological pain to him, as well as an execution involving a torturous and lingering death," the filing said.

Post, 53, is scheduled to die Jan. 16 for the 1983 shooting death of Helen Vantz in Elyria....

Inmates' weight has come up previously in death penalty cases in Ohio and elsewhere. In 2008, federal courts rejected arguments by condemned double-killer Richard Cooey that he was too obese to die by injection. Cooey's attorneys had argued that prison food and limited opportunities to exercise contributed to a weight problem that would make it difficult for the execution team to find a viable vein for lethal injection. Cooey, who was 5-foot-7 and weighed 267 pounds, was executed Oct. 14, 2008.

In 2007, it took Ohio executioners about two hours to insert IVs into the veins of condemned inmate Christopher Newton, who weighed about 265 pounds. A prison spokeswoman at the time said his size was an issue.

In 1994 in Washington state, a federal judge upheld the conviction of Mitchell Rupe, but agreed with Rupe's contention that at more than 400 pounds, he was too heavy to hang because of the risk of decapitation. Rupe argued that hanging would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. After numerous court rulings and a third trial, Rupe was eventually sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 2006.

Ohio executes inmates with a single dose of pentobarbital, usually injected through the arms. Medical personnel have had a hard time inserting IVs into Post's arms, according to the court filing.  Four years ago, an Ohio State University medical center nurse needed three attempts to insert an IV into Post's left arm, the lawyers wrote.

Post has tried losing weight, but knee and back problems have made it difficult to exercise, according to his court filing.  While at the Mansfield Correctional Institution, Post "used that prison's exercise bike until it broke under his weight," according to the filing.

September 17, 2012 at 07:18 PM | Permalink


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What was his weight 30 years ago going into the Ohio correctional system? It would be curious to know since it appears the Ohio correctional system has been party to generating this legal matter - for whatever merit it may have.

Posted by: Robert | Sep 17, 2012 11:08:44 PM

"...the Ohio correctional system has been party to generating this..."

Then so have his "appealing" attorneys.

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 18, 2012 8:54:22 AM

That's one way to get out of being executed. Who knew being fat prevented you from being punished for your crimes? But who knows, maybe it'll work better than being completely innocent: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2012/09/14/cop-beats-teen-accidentally-fires-gun-claims-attacked/

Posted by: Mac Day | Sep 18, 2012 8:57:05 AM

Mac Day --

What does police misconduct in Maryland in 2012 have to do with the adjudication of a murder in Ohio 30 years ago?

If your point is that the police sometimes engage in misconduct, we all knew that. If your point is that misconduct contributed to the Ohio conviction, you didn't put in any specifics to suggest that this is so. Do you have any?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 18, 2012 9:29:51 AM

We could starve him to death

Posted by: da | Sep 18, 2012 12:12:21 PM

They could do a central line in his neck. Death would be quicker than in the arm.

Posted by: Jardinero1 | Sep 18, 2012 3:03:38 PM

they could just use a bullet to the head....but if he keeps expanding...might have to upgrade to a cannon shell!

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 18, 2012 5:55:20 PM

This is a sick blog.

Posted by: anon | Sep 18, 2012 9:16:01 PM

Nowhere as sick as what Post did.

Posted by: alpino | Sep 19, 2012 12:42:00 AM

LOL sorry anon but i'm still stunned someone could gain wht 300 lbs on PRISON food!

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