A condemned Ohio inmate who weighs 450 pounds should be spared based on claims raising doubts about his legal representation, not because he says he’s so fat he can’t be humanely executed, the Ohio Parole Board ruled today.
The board rejected arguments made by attorneys for Ronald Post that he deserves mercy because of lingering doubts about his “legal and moral guilt” in a woman’s death, but it said it couldn’t ignore perceived missteps by lawyers in his case.
The board’s recommendation, by a vote of 5-3, goes to Gov. John Kasich, who has the final say. Post is scheduled to die Jan. 16 for killing Elyria motel clerk Helen Vantz in a 1983 robbery.
“Post took Vantz’s life, devastating the lives of her loved ones in the process,” the board said. But it said a majority of its members agreed that his sentence should be commuted to life without chance of parole, citing the sum of omissions, missed opportunities and questionable decisions made by his previous attorneys.
Post is also fighting his 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. A federal judge hears arguments in that case Monday.
The Ohio governor will have to act on the Ohio Parole Board's recommendation.
Earlier coverage of Ronald Post's case begins at the link. Related posts are in the clemency index.