Ohio convict claims to be too fat for lethal injection

The 400-lb. death row inmate's doctor warns execution could be "torturous and lingering"

By Natasha Lennard
November 10, 2012 12:39AM (UTC)
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A 400-lb. man who was convicted of murder in Ohio and is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in January could be ruled "too fat" to die at the state's hands. Ronald Post, 53, who was sentenced to death for shooting a woman dead during a 1983 robbery "wants a federal judge to stop his execution on the grounds his weight could cause him to suffer severe pain during the procedure," the Daily Mail reported.

In a court affidavit filed Thursday, Ohio State medical center anesthesiologist Sergio Bergese said that, owing to Post's obesity, it would be very unlikely that an IV could be placed in his veins to deliver the lethal dose without causing extreme pain.


“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 filing said.

Post previously requested gastric bypass surgery but was denied, according to the filing. He has been encouraged not to walk because he's at risk for falling -- he suffers from an injured knee and back -- while severe depression has contributed to his inability to limit how much he eats.

The Daily Mail noted that in 2008, 266-lb. death row inmate Richard Cooey "also claimed Ohio authorities would have trouble finding a vein in his flab... In a lawsuit, Cooey argued that he would suffer a painful death by lethal injection because of his size. However, his execution passed without any recorded incident."


Given the precedent and Ohio's current opposition to Post's request this far, it is likely the inmate will suffer the same fate come January.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Death Penalty Death Row Lethal Injection Obesity Ohio