450 pounds and on death row

450 Pounds And On Death Row, Ronald Post Maintains Innocence

Ronald Post, who weighs 450 pounds and is on death row, has continued in a two-faceted attempt to call off his scheduled January execution.

Post is nationally notable as the man who — at 450 pounds on death row — has argued that execution is an inhumane punishment for him specifically due to his morbid obesity. Post is not the first convicted killer to make such a claim, one generally not well-received by death penalty supporters who argue that victims don’t receive such consideration and therefore, neither should their alleged or admitted killers.

But it is not just the fact that the 450 pound man on death row may suffer further pain being put to death than an inmate of normal weight — public defenders for Post claim that ambiguity about the man’s guilt should be a major consideration in forging ahead in his execution.

Lawyers Joe Wilhelm and Rachel Troutman argue that the death penalty should be reserved for clear cut cases of absolute guilt — and that their client’s conviction meets neither standard:

“Lingering doubts exist about the degree of Ronald Post’s legal and moral guilt … 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.”

Lorain County prosecutor Dennis Will counters that while Post never confessed to shooting hotel clerk Helen Vantz, evidence suggests that he is responsible and that the 450 pound inmate on death row should be executed:

“Even though some of Post’s personal admissions of criminal actions did not include an express and explicit personal admission that he was the shooter of Helen Vantz, all of Post’s admissions amount to a confession by Post that he committed crimes at the Slumber Inn.”

Post’s objection on the grounds of his morbid obesity are also still being considered by a federal judge, with scant weeks remaining before his execution date.