A convicted killer who became “morbidly obese” in prison says he’s now too fat to be executed.
Ronald Post, who pleaded guilty in 1985 to killing a hotel clerk in Ohio, now weighs almost 500 pounds. He is scheduled to be executed in January, but has filed papers in federal court arguing his death by lethal injection would create severe problems for executioners.
First of all, his thick layer of fat would make it difficult of doctors to find a vein. Ohio executes inmates with a single dose of pentobarbital, usually injected through the arms.
And then there’s the matter of the flimsy metal gurneys. Post thinks his immense girth would break those.
“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,” the federal filing said.
Post, 53, has tried to lose weight. His request for gastric bypass surgery was denied. He’s been encouraged not to walk because he’s at risk for falling, and severe depression has contributed to his inability to limit how much he eats, his filing said.
While at the Mansfield Correctional Institution, Post “used that prison’s exercise bike until it broke under his weight,” according to the filing. He now uses a wheelchair.
Post killed Slumber Inn hotel clerk Helen Grace Vantz Dec. 15, 1983, in Elyria, Ohio. He shot the 53-year-old woman in the back of the head twice and escaped with $100 and a 13-inch black and white TV set.
Vantz’s son, William, laughed Monday when he heard about Post’s request, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Then he became serious.
“I don’t care if they have to wheel him in on a tractor-trailer; 30 years is too long,” William Vantz said.