Parole board: Spare obese condemned Ohio killer

Ohio Gov. John Kasich must decide in about a month whether to spare a condemned inmate who weighs 450 pounds, and whether the inmate's health should be part of his decision.
Associated Press
Dec 14, 2012


The state parole board on Friday recommended mercy for Ronald Post based on claims raising doubts about his legal representation, not because he says he's so fat he can't be humanely executed.

The board rejected arguments made by Post's attorneys that he deserves mercy because of lingering doubts about his "legal and moral guilt" in a woman's death, but it said it couldn't ignore perceived missteps by his lawyers.

The board's recommendation, by a vote of 5-3, goes to Kasich, who has the final say. Post is scheduled to die Jan. 16 for killing Elyria motel clerk Helen Vantz in a 1983 robbery.

"Post took Vantz's life, devastating the lives of her loved ones in the process," the board said. But it said a majority of its members agreed his sentence should be commuted to life in prison without chance of parole because of omissions, missed opportunities and questionable decisions made by his previous attorneys and because that legal representation didn't meet expectations for a death penalty case.

Post never raised his weight issue with the board, but instead is arguing in federal court on Monday that he would suffer "a torturous and lingering death" as executioners tried to find a vein or use a backup method where lethal drugs are injected directly into muscle.

Kasich can consider anything he wants, regardless of court rulings or whether a claim — in this case Post's weight — was made as part of the clemency petition, Dan Kobil, a Capital University law professor and expert on clemency.

Governors in decades past would consider an inmate's youth and whether they had a mental disability, even before executing juveniles and those with disabilities was ruled unconstitutional, Kobil said.

"That's what clemency is there for, to take into account the oddball case that doesn't fall into the normal sorts of parameters of the law," Kobil said.

Post's current attorneys said they were pleased by the recommendation.

"In the nearly 30 years since his case began, Ronald Post has too often been failed by the attorneys assigned to represent him, beginning at his trial," public defenders Joe Wilhelm and Rachel Troutman said in a statement.

Vantz's sons, William and Michael, have said they believe in Post's guilt. William Vantz characterized Post's obesity claim as "another way for a coward to try and get out of what debt he owes to society."

The long-held presumption that Post confessed to the murder to several people has been falsely exaggerated, Post's attorneys argued. Post admitted involvement in the crime as the get-away driver to a police informant but didn't admit to the killing.

"Sure ain't no murderer," Post told that informant, according to Post's clemency filing.

The dissenting parole board members said that it is clear Post killed Vantz and that questionable moves by his attorneys don't outweigh the circumstances of the case.

Doubt about Post's guilt lingers because of the involvement of two other men in the shooting, Post's attorneys argue. Post pleaded no contest to the crime on the advice of his attorney in expectation he would receive a life sentence, they said. Even after his plea, he told a psychologist "he was not a murderer."

Post's attorneys argue that prosecutors misrepresented to the judge that Post had confessed to sole involvement in Vantz's death.

"The death penalty should be reserved for cases where proof of guilt is reliable and the legal system produced a just result," the defense had said. "Neither criteria is met in this case."

Lorain County prosecutor Dennis Will had pointed to the written no contest plea, in which Post acknowledged responsibility, as "a compelling reason" to reject clemency. Will said Friday he disagreed with the decision.

"I don't think that he is someone who should receive clemency even based on the procedural issues that they address," Will said. "He's fully been able to receive due process and litigate those."




30 YEARS . WTF WHEN are the laws in this country going to change ? This is total bull.


as soon as somebody commits a violent crime, seems like people go out of their way to protect the criminals rights. the way i see it, he didn't live by the laws and norms of society so he shouldn't have the same rights. put him on a crash diet if thats the issue and as soon as he slims down, KILL HIM.


Can't they just give this guy a blindfold and shoot him? Why are we having this discussion? This freak is a murderer. How did he get so overweight being in jail? The Pussycat Patrol is going crazy over this. Please kill him and let's move on.......NEXT!!!



Seen it All

First fire the state parole board! Second, put a bullet in that fatbutt's head!!


Wait a minute here. He's not healthy enough to be put to death. Really?


Being a nurse, I am pretty sure that people of his size have been put under anesthesia WITH IV or central line access....this is horse poo that they say he may experience a lingering death.....what exactly did you do to the woman you murdered????? Put him on a hospital bed in front of me and I bet I will find IV access!!! Parole Board---wise the he** up and put him to death!!!!

Phil Packer

Let him starve to death...well, maybe not.


I find it hard to understand why the medical profession is not capable of forceabily reducing him to a lower weight. Get him down to acceptable weight and then go ahead with the punishment.


I don't understand why this is even an issue, or as stated above, why this discussion continues. Too many other options out there to put this killer where he belongs. So what if he experiences a painful, lingering death, the end result, he won't remember it, he'll be dead!!! Give closure to the family of his victim.


First, let me put my statement into perspective. I have children and grandchildren and type this after reading what has happened in CT, so I'm somewhat emotional about killers.

Put the fat b$stard on diet, then shoot him.

Don S

SHOOT THIS PIG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


If they put him on a diet before they put him to death he'll be on death row for another 30 years.

Second Opinion

There are fathers who never murdered anyone who have difficulty in feeding their children and our prisons let this guy get to 450 pounds? The Warden needs to be fired! Sheriff Apario took away coffee because there was no nutritional value and Obama sues him. The entire government is messed up.

Erie County Resident

Are they kidding us?
Just when does the Parole board make legal rulings about case merit and procedure?

Do they think that they are the Supreme Court or what?
Time for the entire parole board to be replaced thinking like this.

Hospitals also do surgery on Bariatric patients all the time. Who are they kidding that they couldn't find a viable access point. Get somebody competent in there that can to get the job done.

Second Opinion

Excellent points.


Liberals get what they vote for.


Who cares? I don't! I am sick of reading about this guy and his problems. Either give him the life w/ out parole or uphold the sentence and execute him. It doesn't matter to me. Let's face it, it's not going to change anything.


He had no feelings for his victom, or her family.
Give him what he deserves.


a marine sniper from a mile will do the trick :-)


But I like the stairs.


Did any of you read beyond the headline? The parole board did not make their ruling based on his obesity, but on doubts about his legal representation.


thats what the courts are for not the parole board.


put a line in this fat fur;oatra rlw's arm and end it, I am tired of listening to his excuses. Just put this guy to death already. He didn't give his victim a choice.


Put the meds in a jelly doughnut.....Problem solved


LOLOLOL....I think it might take two, but not sure, Moe. LOLOLOL



Still laughing..... but o so true.


A .25 cent bullet to the head or chest end of story period no debate!!

thinkagain's picture

It’s always interesting to read some of the death penalty supporters flippant comments. In their eyes, the taking of someone’s life goes from being a wrong to a comedic right.


and it's always interesting to hear some of these killers say that they don't deserve to die!

so, i say we give them an option. take them to afghanistan and let them walk 20 miles of ground notorious for ied's. if they make they are free and if not they saved a soldiers life.

thinkagain's picture

That’s one of the problems with the death penalty, some that have been executed didn’t deserve to die… And a number of prisoners on death row have been released after new evidence cleared them. Sometimes they have been saved when they were only days--or even hours--away from execution.


@ mikel
That's not a bad idea >"...take them to afghanistan and let them walk 20 miles of ground notorious for ied's."


Why don't everyone who believes the only thing that can be accomplished is quenching your lust for taking another humans life write Gov. Kasich and express your opinion to him about this. And make sure you let Prosecutor Baxter know how you feel as he pleas out every one that is in the county jail with a life without parole instead of the death penalty. Because that is what is going to happen.


It's called justice.