Too Obese To Execute: Ohio Death Row Inmate Claims His Weight Prevents The Carrying Out Of A Humane Death Sentence

Ohio death row inmate Ronald Post claims his obesity would prevent a humane execution. The convicted killer maintains his massive weight and scar tissue would not allow the vein access necessary to humanely put him to death for his crimes. In 2007 executioners spent two hours trying to insert IVs into the veins of a 265-pound man – Post weighs in at 480 pounds, according to the Daily Mail. In 1994, a 400-pound convict had his death sentence commuted to life in prison due to the risk of decapitation associated with carrying out the execution.

In 1983 Ronald Post attempted to use an exercise bike at the Mansfield Correctional Institution, but it broke beneath his weight. Nearly 30 years ago he killed a northern Ohio hotel clerk. The obese inmate robbed and then shot Helen Vantz, 53, of Elyria, twice in the head, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

In federal court papers filed by his attorneys on Friday, the convicted murderer maintains the execution chamber gurney might not hold his bulk. Post, 53, is scheduled to die on January 16.

An excerpt from the court document reads:

“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.”

Court documents in the recent filing also noted that health care providers have had a difficult time finding veins in the inmate’s arms. Four years ago a nurse at the Ohio State University Medical Center had to try three times before connecting with a vein in Post’s arm. Knee and back issues are also included as reasons why the convict has had a hard time losing weight.

William Vantz, the victim’s son, had this to say in a letter published by the Morning Journal:

“I am now 54 years old, a year older than my mother at the time of her murder. We, my family and friends have waited too long for the day that he is executed for this heinous crime. Some did not live long enough to see the day justice is served.”

The still-grieving son also noted that allowing the death row inmate to live out his life behind bars instead of dying by lethal injection, will not bring closure to him and his family.

The weight of convicts sentenced to death has previously become an issue in Ohio and other states. In 2008, a federal court rejected a similar argument by double-murderer Richard Cooey. His attorneys argued that prison food and a lack of accessibility to exercise contributed to his weight problem.