Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ronald Post: Too Fat to Die

Ronald Post

Ronald Post

Ohio death row inmate Ronald Post, 53, who reportedly weights at least 480 pounds, has asked that his scheduled January 16, 2013, execution should be delayed, i.e.: cancelled, essentially because it could hurt too much, and cause him to suffer. His attorney argues that, “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.” Post, received the death penalty in 1985 for a murder he committed in 1983: “On 12/15/83, Post murdered 53-year-old Helen Vantz at the Slumber Inn in Elyria. Mrs. Vantz was the desk clerk at the hotel. Post shot Mrs. Vantz twice in the back of the head and stole various items, including a bank deposit bag of money and Mrs. Vantz’s purse. Post confessed to Elyria police detectives.” Following the advice of his attorneys, Post pleaded no contest in court, but received no mercy from a three-judge panel.

Ohio executes prisoners with an intravenous overdose of a single drug. One of Post’s concerns is that the prison nurse will have trouble finding a usable vein for the IV, because it once took a prison nurse three tries to get an IV into Post’s arm. This is a far cry from Ohio’s planned 2009 execution of Romell Broom, who, after two hours and 18 punctures, was allowed to have his execution postponed. Broom is currently incarcerated in the Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

In 1994 Washington State death row inmate Mitchell Rupe convinced a court that at over 400 pounds, he was too heavy to be executed by hanging, the only method of execution available in that state at the time, saying that the noose would wind up decapitating him. The courts eventually allowed Rupe to live out his life behind prison walls where he died in 2006. Post expressed fears that the death chamber gurney would collapse under his weight like one of the prison’s exercise bikes had when he tried to lose a few pounds, but that hardly qualifies as a comparison to Rupe’s predicament.

Slideshow: ‘Big Boned’ and Busted

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