Inmate Uses Obesity To Avoid Lethal Injection; Victim’s Son Unsympathetic

Ronald Post has a “unique physical and medical condition” that could get him out of death by lethal injection. His condition?

Post weighs 486 pounds.

Twenty-nine years ago, Ronald Post murdered a hotel clerk. According to The Sideshow, he is scheduled to death by lethal injection on January 16, 2013. His lawyers, however, state that because of Post’s weight, “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 plea made by Post’s lawyers to stay his execution gives several reasons why Post is too obese to die by lethal injection. Most importantly, as in the case of Christopher Newton in 2007, executioners may not be able to find a vein. Among other things, Post’s “unusual weight” would be too much for any gurney used in the execution process. The victim’s family, however, doesn’t have much sympathy for Post’s weight issues. The LA Times reports the feelings of the victim’s son:

“I don’t care if they have to wheel him in on a tractor-trailer; 30 years is too long,” William Vantz said. “Enough is enough. This is just an excuse to get out of the execution.”

Post is not the first inmate to use his weight to try to escape from a death sentence.

Christopher Newton filed pleas that his weight should prohibit his execution. His petition was denied, however, andThe Sideshow reports that his execution was “delayed for two hours while prison staff struggled to find a vein to administer his lethal injection.”

And Newton weighed 200 pounds less than Post.

Richard Cooey, also from Ohio, was arrested at 19 for the torture, rape and murder of two college students. His pleas that he was “too overweight to be killed humanly” were ignored, reports Yahoo! Voices, and he died by lethal injection in 2008. The LA Times reports that his injection went smoothly, and “news reports at the time said it took eight minutes from the first shot, which put Cooey to sleep, until he was pronounced dead.”

Perhaps Post is hoping for a more optimistic sentence, like that of Mitchell Rupe in 1994. After a federal judge in Washington State ruled that 400-pound Mitchell Rupe was too overweight for his hanging sentence, Rupe was re-sentenced with life in prison and died in confinement in 2006.