Too fat to die: Ohio killer considered too big for lethal injection
With no accessible veins in his arms, hands or legs, he may be evading death.
Ronald Post, 53, has a Jan. 16 death sentence for the 1983 murder of a woman working as a hotel clerk. Grace Vantz was shot to death in the back of her head as Post robbed the motel where she worked, stealing $100 and a television.
Decades later, the victim’s family is still calling for justice to be served. But the inmate’s doctor, Dr. Sergio Bergese, claims that Post’s weight has made it impossible to execute the man without inflicting torturous pain. The doctor said Post has no vein access and has scar tissue that makes it impossible to even find a vein.
“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,” Dr. Bergese wrote in the court filing.
According to the filing, it is “extremely unlikely” to find veins in Post’s hands and “highly unlikely” to find any in his legs. Scars from a suicide attempt on both his forearms make it impossible to place an IV there.
The condemned killer has had blood drawn in the past, but only with great difficulty. Dr. Bergese believes this is no guarantee that an IV could be inserted.
Additionally, Post’s obesity makes it possible for the execution gurney to break under his weight. The doctor has also argued that other medical problems – including depression – could lead to severe problems during an execution. Post says he has tried losing weight, but has so far been unable to due to knee and back problems that make exercising difficult. He has been denied a request for gastric bypass surgery and been encouraged not to walk to avoid falling. When in the past he tried to use an exercise bike at a correctional institute, the bike broke under his weight.
Post’s depression has also hindered his ability to lose weight. The son of the woman that was murdered, William Vantz, has called all of Post’s excuses “laughable.”
The state of Ohio has so far opposed Post’s request, and the family of the murder victim is hoping the execution will take place.
“Some have said that since it’s been so long just let [Post] stay in prison for the remainder of his natural life. No!” William Vantz told the Morning Journal newspaper. “We all have recourse to the law and it’s time he paid his debt to society. It’s way overdue!”