"Condemned obese Ohio killer asks board for mercy in claim focusing on innocence, not weight," is the updated AP report filed by Andrew Welsh-Huggins.
A condemned obese killer should be spared because of lingering doubts about his “legal and moral guilt” and the conduct of defense and prosecution lawyers at trial, his attorneys told the state Parole Board on Thursday in a bid for clemency focusing on his innocence, not his weight.
Death row inmate Ronald Post is fighting his January execution on the grounds that he is so fat he can’t be humanely executed and will suffer cruel and unusual punishment as the state struggles to find his veins or give him enough drugs to put someone his size to death.
That argument is in the federal courts, while the 450-pound Post pursues an innocence claim unrelated to his weight before the parole board. The panel considers requests for mercy before making a recommendation to Gov. John Kasich, who has the final say.
Attorneys for Post made presentations to the parole board Thursday followed by prosecutors from Lorain County and the attorney general’s office. The state says the hearing could last two days.
The long-held presumption that Post confessed to the murder to several people has been falsely exaggerated, Post’s attorneys argue. Post admitted involvement in the crime as the get-away driver to a police informant but did not admit to the killing.
“Sure ain’t no murderer,” Post told that informant, according to Post’s clemency filing.
Doubt about Post’s guilt lingers because of the involvement of two other men in the shooting, Post’s attorneys argue. Post pleaded no contest to the crime on the advice of his attorney in expectation he would receive a life sentence, the attorneys argue. Even after his plea, he told a psychologist “he was not a murderer.”
The attorneys also argue that prosecutors misrepresented to the judge that Post had confessed to sole involvement in Vantz’s death.
“Lingering doubts exist about the degree of Ronald Post’s legal and moral guilt,” public defenders Joe Wilhelm and Rachel Troutman told the board in a written request for mercy.
“The death penalty should be reserved for cases where proof of guilt is reliable and the legal system produced a just result,” they said. “Neither criteria is met in this case.”
An earlier AP report, also by Welsh-Huggins, is, "Ronald Post, Obese Death Row Inmate, Fights Execution In Ohio." It's via Huffington Post.
At about 450 pounds, Ohio death row inmate Ronald Post is so fat that his executioners won't be able to find veins in his arms or legs for the lethal injection, and he might even break the death chamber gurney, his lawyers say.
If the state is forced to use a backup method that involves injecting the drugs directly into muscle, the process could require multiple doses over several hours or even days and result in a grueling and painful end, they say.
Post, who gained close to 200 pounds on death row, is trying to stave off execution Jan. 16 for the 1983 killing of a motel clerk during a robbery, arguing that because of his obesity, an attempt to put him to death would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
State officials say Post, 53, can be humanely executed under both Ohio's usual method and the untested backup procedure. The warden at the prison where the death chamber is situated even tested the gurney by piling 540 pounds of weights on it for two hours.
Post has not presented "sufficient evidence demonstrating that his obesity or other physical conditions will present a substantial risk that his execution cannot be conducted in a humane and dignified manner," Assistant Attorney General Charles Wille said in court papers.
A federal judge in Columbus will hold a hearing on Post's claim later this month.
Earlier coverage of Ronald Post's case begins at the link.