November 22, 2014

Freezing rain

Convicted killer dies in prison

Convicted killer Ronald Ray Post, who was spared a January date with the executioner’s needle when his death sentence was commuted to life in prison by Gov. John Kasich last year, died in a prison hospital Thursday.



Post, 53, died at Franklin Medical Center in Columbus, Ricky Seyfang, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said. Post had been serving time for the Dec. 15, 1983, murder of Elyria motel clerk Helen Vantz, who was shot in the head during Post’s robbery of the Slumber Inn.

Seyfang said a cause of death wasn’t available Thursday. She also said she couldn’t comment on Post’s medical condition because of health care privacy laws, but court documents filed during Post’s bid to avoid lethal injection last year indicated that he had been in failing health.

Among the medical issues plaguing Post, according to the documents, were a history of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems, including varicose veins. He also reportedly suffered from depression and joint problems and had scarring on his body from a previous suicide attempt.

Post’s attorneys argued that his weight of more than 480 pounds in 2012 should spare him from death because the execution team would have difficulty placing shunts into the veins necessary to deliver the lethal overdose of sedative used in Ohio to kill condemned inmates. The state had argued that Post had lost weight and could be executed safely and humanely.

But it wasn’t Post’s weight that led Kasich to spare him. Rather it was concern over the legal representation he received prior to his no-contest plea in the case. Despite his plea, a three-judge panel handed down a death sentence.

The controversial plea was the result of a belief by Post’s trial attorneys, Mike Duff and now-retired Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Lynett McGough, that one of the judges, the late Adrian Betleski, wouldn’t impose the death penalty because he was Roman Catholic, Post’s current lawyers had argued.

The Ohio Parole Board concluded that while McGough wanted Post to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence, Duff wanted his client to enter the no-contest plea to preserve an appeals issue.

Duff said Thursday that he was surprised to learn of Post’s death.

“I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m glad he died not on death row,” Duff said. “He died in general population. He finally received the benefit of the plea deal he was promised.”

Duff added that the entire case had been tragic for all involved.

“It’s a sad case all the way around, for the Vantz family and the Post family,” he said.

Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will and William Vantz, one of Helen Vantz’s sons, declined to comment Thursday on Post’s death.

After Kasich’s decision to spare Post in December, William Vantz called it a “theft of justice.”

“I will take some solace in the fact that he will die in prison and he is already dead to me,” Vantz said in December.

Other members of the Vantz family pressed for a face-to-face meeting with Kasich, which they got in May. That meeting led to Kasich promising to call the families of the victims of killers whose death sentences he decided to commute.

Despite his life prison sentence, Post’s lawyers continued to argue that he had been wrongfully convicted of killing Vantz. They contended in court filings that Post was instead the getaway driver for the robbery in which Vantz was shot as she worked on the motel’s receipts. Prosecutors, police and the Vantz family have rejected those arguments.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or

  • connie thomas

    How do you get to weigh 480 in PRISON? Eating REAL good on tax payers money! Probably better than we the working people do!

    • Lisa Jones

      the only way he would eat real good in there is if he bought his own food at the prison store once a mouth worked in the kitchen and took extra food that he was not suppose to have if he had heart trouble he could be retaining water and that’s how he could of been 480 pounds that I do know happens one good thing he is finally dead and we don’t have to pay for him any more I think they should of put him up against the wall and let that ladies family all give him a shell to the head a long time ago…

    • marie faren

      He probably did it intentionally….& the governor let him..

    • Sue Lawson

      I was wondering the same thing…

  • grannyof6

    Thank God, the Vantz family may now get some closure! Amen to this piece of scum bag rubbish!!

  • Jamie Smith

    Well Our LORD works in mysterious ways and it looks like he over ruled Gov Kasich’s decision to commute Ronald Post’s death sentence due to being so fat that it would be difficult to find a vein & he had bad defense atty’s. That was a shocking decision as Post wasn’t too fat to put that bullet in Helen Vantz’s head that Dec 1983 day. It’s been such a heartbreaking ongoing nightmare for her Family I hope they find closure in this and move on and find Peace in their Mother’s memory and know that she is embracing them from Heaven.

    • Spec440

      Or he simply had a heart attack from being so obese. Strange that your loving God, that allegedly loves and forgives everyone, kills people.

      • stargazer2012

        Everyone has a ‘free will’ my dear. God kills no one, we kill ourselves.

        • Spec440

          Really? The same “Free Will” to do and believe what you want but if you exercise that free will you are cast into a fiery hell for all eternity? Yeah, you’re free to do what you want as long as it is unquestionably following Jesus…doesn’t matter how upstanding your are. Follow Jesus or spend eternity on fire. Sounds legit.

        • Sue Lawson


      • Goldenboy

        God doesn’t intervene in the affairs of men. It was common health science. Over eat and your die.

    • marie faren

      exactly !!

  • Ex_Subscriber

    Apparently nature didn’t think he was too fat to die. Karma. It got you in the end, didn’t it, Post? I’m glad a higher authority than John Kasich made the final decision.

  • Christopher Dunson

    He ate himself to death ? Good for us.

  • Sheryl Castelli Vantz

    of course we were upset when the wonderful, Gov. of Ohio commuted his sentence, but I have the comfort of knowing that he had ZERO quality of life in the time he had left. He had the plan of gaining so much weight so he could use that as an excuse for yet another senseless appeal, and that is what killed him in the end. Voters of Ohio remember this case when your awesome Gov. runs for office again. Stop and think how much of YOUR money was spent on this killers defense and medical care. How many of you work and lead a criminal free life and yet cant afford good medical care? He had many years of free medical care on your dime. Remember this when you go to vote. Well hells got him now maybe hes not too fat to burn.

    • disqus_HolYEuCY1c

      So sorry for what your family had to go threw all these years .And this man will never get my vote !! God be with all involved .

  • Angelboys

    He no doubt got a disability check every month, most fat or obese people do. We support these pigs in America you see—if your fat of course your back and legs hurt and of course you CAN’T WORK.

    Then he ate a lot of Twinkies and junk food at the commissary no doubt.

    It should be bread and water (and meat once of week) if a person is in prison. Having these pig murderers, rapists, child molesters (it’s all the same….monsters picking on the weak)….. walking around (or in wheel chairs) is crazy.

    As for getting the needle in his vein….I can get it in.

    • Goldenboy

      No disability checks in prison. No pension checks from government and if you have money on your books, you pay for health services and basics.

  • Pingback: 'Too fat to execute' killer dies in prison, the fight that canceled a festival, suicide threat snarls traffic and more: A.M. News Links | Cleveland News

  • Zen Grouch

    I imagine prison food is awful, but depending on what you’re willing to swallow one can probably keep their weight up.

    **Hey! You gonna eat that?**

    • Bob Sweatt

      Right. I am sure it wasn’t all the “tossed salads” (if you know what I mean LOL) he was eating that made him fat.

  • KZ14

    Now we get to pay to bury this guy? What a world it is.

  • marie faren

    May the devil help him in his next journey…hes not going to heaven that is for sure…May he burn in hell..& along the way take the Govoner od Ohio with you …who let him live a few more months which he did not deserve…Lord know he did not give that to Mrs. Vantz…REST IN HELL ….!!

  • Linda Groves