Ronald Post Dies: Obese Inmate Avoids Execution, Dies Naturally

Ronald Post has died. The obese inmate avoided execution, and has died of natural causes in an Ohio prison. Post was 53 years old.

Post was convicted of killing Helen Vanz, a motel clerk, in December 1983. He was found guilty and sentenced to death.

As reported by the Huffington Post, his attorneys argued against his execution. As Post weighed close to 500 pounds, they argued that lethal injection would lead to “torturous and lingering death.”

Ronald Post’s weight would have created numerous issues for executioners. Vein access would have been difficult, and it was doubtful that the execution gurney could support his weight.

Medical issues, including back and knee problems, made it difficult for Post to lose weight. He requested gastric bypass surgery, but was denied.

In the execution appeal, attorneys cited numerous incidents where medical personnel were unable to access Post’s veins. It often took several tries to draw blood or administer medication.

As Ohio’s lethal injection uses only one dose, chances of success were considered slim.

As reported the Boston Herald, Post was granted clemency by Ohio Governor John Kasich last December. Kasich stated that his “decision should not be viewed by anyone as a diminishing of this awful crime or the pain it has caused.”

Although Post’s attorneys argued that he was too obese to execute, Kasich’s decision was based on a recommendation by the Ohio Parole Board.

The parole board recommended mercy based on Post’s legal representation at the time of his sentence. The board did not doubt his guilt. However, they doubted that he was given a fair trial.

Governor Kasich commuted Post’s sentence to life without parole. Six months later, Ronald Post has died.

Ronald Post

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman, Ricky Seyfang, could not comment on Post’s cause of death. She simply stated that they “weren’t surprised by his passing.”

Ronald Post’s death may not be surprising. However, he did manage to die of natural causes. By avoiding execution, he prolonged his life by six months. Much of that time was spent in the prison’s hospital.

[Image via Flickr]