An Ohio man on death row is arguing that because of his weight, he would face a “torturous and lingering death” during execution. 480-pound Ronald Post, scheduled to die on January 16, argues that because of his obesity, difficult vein access, depression, and scar tissue, his life should be spared. Post is on death row for the 1983 shooting death of a woman in Elyria, Ohio.
In the past there has been difficulty administering an IV to Post because of his weight. Four years ago it took a nurse three attempts to successfully administer an IV in his left arm. He has tried to lose weight in prison, but his back and knee problems make exercise difficult. His attorneys argued that when he was provided access to an exercise bike he rode it until it broke. He also requested gastric bypass surgery but that request was denied. In addition, his depression makes it hard for Post to control how much he eats.
Ronald Post is not the first person to file a Motion for Stay of Execution because of obesity. In 2008, 267-pound Richard Cooey argued that his weight problem, created by poor prison food and lack of exercise opportunities, would make it hard for executioners to find a usable vein. Cooey was executed on October 14, 2008. And in 1994, a man named Mitchell Rupe was sentenced to death by hanging, but his sentence was later reduced to life in prison. The 400-pound man argued that his weight would put him at risk for decapitation when he dropped. He died in prison in 2006.
A spokesperson for the prison did not offer any comment on this litigation. Unless his Motion is successful, Post will die this coming January from a single dose of pentobarbital administered in his arm.