Ohio Governor Spares Obese Death Row Inmate

The governor of Ohio, John Kasich, has spared obese death row inmate Ronald Post from execution on the grounds that he had poor legal representation.

The decision by Kasich effectively sidesteps a decision on whether Post, who weighs about 450 pounds, was too large to execute humanely, reports The New York Daily News.

Kasich’s decition to grant Post clemency mirrors the mercy recommendation by the state parole board, which stated that, while it didn’t doubt Post’s guilt, it stated that there were too many issues with his representation 30 years ago to warrant execution.

In issuing his call for clemency, the governor stated that all criminal defendants, regardless of their crime, deserve an adequate defense. Kasich’s spokesman, Rob Nichols, added that the governor didn’t consider Post’s obesity claim when granting clemency either. Kasich stated:

“This decision should not be viewed by anyone as diminishing this awful crime or the pain it has caused.”

WCPO notes that Post was scheduled for execution on January 16 for his role in killing Elyria, Ohio motel clerk Helen Vantz during a robbery in 1983. The parole members rejected claims that Post was innocent, stating, “Post took Vantz’s life, devastating the lives of her loved ones in the process.”

But, they stated that his death sentence should be commuted to life in prison in a 5-3 decision, citing omissions, missed opportunities, and questionable decisions made by the obese death row inmate’s previous attorneys. They also stated that legal representation in the case did not meet the expectations needed for a death penalty case.

Do you think that Ohio Governor John Kasich was right to commute Ronald Post’s death sentence?