An Ohio death row inmate claims he is too fat to be humanely executed. Ronald Post, who weighs in at around 450 pounds, is contesting his execution on the grounds that they will not be able to find veins to inject the lethal solution quickly or that he might break the gurney.
His lawyers have filed paperwork in court and there will be a hearing in federal court later this month. However, Assistant Attorney General Charles Wille said that Post has not shown "sufficient evidence demonstrating that his obesity or other physical conditions will present a substantial risk that his execution cannot be conducted in a humane and dignified manner."
This certainly raises the issue of whether or not someone can be too obese for execution under current methods and whether those will have to be updated if too many inmates try to gain weight to prevent being executed. However, prisons do not normally serve enough food for inmates to gain the amount of weight needed for this sort of defense. Most prisons do have a commissary however, and inmates who have someone sending them money can buy food from the commissary in an almost unlimited amount.
If the standard method of injecting the solution into a vein is not viable, Ohio prison officials may have to use a backup method where the solution is injected into a muscle. However, this is being fiercely protested by the attorneys of this death row inmate, because it might take several days for him to die, and that would be torture and inhumane.
There actually has been a case where an inmate was found to be too obese to be executed. In 1994, Mitchell Rupe had his sentence commuted to life in prison after a federal judge in Washington State found that he was too heavy to be hanged because he might be decapitated. Washington allows the inmate to choose between hanging and lethal injection.
Gabriel Legend covers current events for Gather News, and writes horror fiction. If you like an article from Gabriel please share it using the social media links below.Follow Gabriel Legend on Twitter (@GabeLegend).