An Ohio death row inmate named Ronald Post is scheduled to be executed on January 16, 2013.  In 1983, he confessed to the murder of a hotel clerk named Helen Vantz.  In 1985, he was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel.  However, since 1997, his attorneys have tried to get him off the hook by arguing that his weight puts him in danger of experiencing severe pain if he undergoes the state’s death penalty injections.  Post weighs 450 pounds.

His attorney argues, “his obesity would make it difficult to find a vein for a lethal injection and that the alternative of an intramuscular injection might not kill him because of his weight.”  They are worried that Post will be tortured because the injection may take a long time to kill him and he will experience a lingering death as opposed to a fast one.

This obesity argument did not work in Post’s favor.  On Monday, Judge Lesley Wells ruled that Post cannot be given a stay of execution because of his obesity.

What is the Death Penalty?

  • The punishment administered to an individual convicted of a capital crime.
  • In western countries, capital crimes include murder or treason.
  • Methods of carrying out the death penalty include lethal injection, electric chair, and the gas chamber.
  • There can be no automatic imposition of the death penalty.
  • The jury must decide mitigating factors for death penalty.

What do you think?  Should the risk of a torturous and lingering death be a reason to stop the execution of a murderer?  Should an inmates weight be a factor in determining whether they should be executed?