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Published: Friday, 5/30/2014

Ohio inmate seeking to donate kidney to ailing mom wants execution delay; 1st request rejected

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ronald Phillips. Ronald Phillips.
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COLUMBUS — A condemned Ohio child killer who wants to donate a kidney to his mother before his execution is requesting another reprieve after the state rejected his first organ donation request.

Attorneys for the inmate, Ronald Phillips, want the execution delayed until 2016. They say by then, Phillips’ 66-year-old mother either will achieve necessary weight loss to safely undergo transplant surgery or likely will succumb to complications of kidney disease.

Phillips’ latest request to Gov. John Kasich’s office was filed this month. A spokesman for Kasich confirmed today that it was received but didn’t comment further.

Phillips, 40, is out of appeals. He was sentenced to die for the rape and death of Sheila Marie Evans, his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, in Akron in 1993.

Lisa Lagos, one of Phillips’ attorneys, said they are hopeful the state will work with them on the reprieve request.

“We all have the same goal, just trying to get the best outcome,” Lagos said. “You know, this execution is going to happen no matter what. ... As the governor said, if a life can be saved, that should be allowed to happen.”

The prison system rejected the last-minute organ donation request Phillips made in November, but Kasich delayed his execution until July 2 to give the state time to see whether it was possible to comply.

The state concluded it wasn’t feasible, saying Phillips didn’t have time to undergo surgery and recuperate by the execution. The prisons department said it has an obligation to make sure he is healthy, despite the fact he would be put to death.

Phillips’ execution was rescheduled this week to Sept. 18 after a judge ordered a 2 ½-month moratorium on Ohio executions to allow time for arguments over new lethal injection procedures. Lagos said the date change doesn’t affect the reprieve request.

She said Phillips’ mother must lose weight before she could safely have transplant surgery and has started the process of pursuing bariatric surgery to achieve that. The requested delay would allow time for that surgery, the transplant surgery and Phillips’ recovery, Lagos said.

Kasich previously denied an organ donation request by condemned inmate Dennis McGuire on grounds that McGuire couldn’t identify a relative who would receive his organs, as required under prison policy. McGuire was executed Jan. 16 and repeatedly gasped during the 26 minutes it took him to die.

The state subsequently decided to increase dosages of its lethal injection drugs to allay concerns but maintains that the process was constitutional and that McGuire didn’t experience pain or distress.

Find Kantele Franko on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kantele10.



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