April 19, 2014

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Ohio death row inmate denied wish to donate organs

Ronald Phillips (AP photo)

Ronald Phillips (AP photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A condemned child killer will not be allowed to donate organs to his ailing mother and sister before or during his execution this week, Ohio prisons officials said Tuesday after determining the process would pose significant security and logistical challenges.

The request from Ronald Phillips to donate a kidney and his heart came Monday, less than 72 hours before he is scheduled to die by lethal injection.

Phillips has said through his attorneys that the request was not a delay tactic, but rather an attempt to make a final gesture for good.

Prison officials scrambled to review Phillips’ last-minute request, which they called unprecedented, but ultimately could not figure out a way to get the 40-year-old to and from an offsite hospital while following security procedures leading up to an execution. Phillips is scheduled to die Thursday by an injection of a sedative and painkiller that has never been used in a U.S. execution.

The department says it will be up to his family whether the organs are donated after his death. It is unclear whether they would be viable when Phillips’ body is turned over to his family.

The prisons department “has reviewed the options and has determined that the department is not equipped to facilitate organ donation pre- or post- execution,” said spokeswoman JoEllen Smith. Prisons officials consider the matter to be private among Phillips, his family and his attorneys, she said.

Transporting an inmate so close to his execution date outside prison walls for an off-site medical procedure would pose “significant security concerns and risks,” Stephen C. Gray, general counsel of prison risk management, wrote in a Tuesday reply to Phillips’ request.

Phillips had never requested to donate his organs earlier although the option is available under prison medical policy, Gray wrote.

Phillips was sentenced to die for the rape and death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in Akron in 1993.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich last week rejected Phillips’ request for mercy, and all his appeals have been dropped.

Phillips’ Cleveland attorney, Tim Sweeney, said that Phillips did not propose donating his organs earlier because he was hopeful his case would go another way.

“He’s been very reflective and prayerful over the last several weeks. I think he was very hopeful that he was going to be granted clemency and/or get relief from the court, so this never really had to come to a head,” Sweeney said. “The disappointment on those fronts made this obviously more relevant.”

His mother has kidney disease and is on dialysis and his sister has a heart condition, the Monday letter said.

In 1995, Delaware death row inmate Steven Shelton was allowed to donate a kidney to his mother while in prison, though he was not facing imminent execution. Following successful appeals, his death sentence was reversed and he was resentenced to prison time in 2011.

  • DonMega

    He raped a three year old,just kill him an get it over with.

  • rudepplsuck

    He is pure evil to do something so heinous. Kill him and do not let his organs get donated to anyone. Family or not. Can you imagine!!

    • Bob Sweatt

      Um. If one of my family members need an organ to live. I really don’t care where it comes from.

      But he family should not be on the list for his organs. They need to wait their turn, just like everyone else does.

      • rudepplsuck

        Have at it Bob Sweatt… if you or your family want the organs of a baby rapist and murderer!! That’s your right!! I was just saying i can’t imagine…..

  • stargazer2012

    His organs would not be viable after the injection of these drugs.

  • Macdaddyoh

    He’s probably in perfect health from all the FREE medical he’s had over the years. Let his organs be installed into his mother and sister. They may never get another opportunity for an organ.

  • candi

    They should donate everything on him. His eyeballs, skin, organs, EVERYTHING. Let his mother and sister take what they need and donate the rest. It should be a mandatory rule in death sentences. Instead of ‘sentenced to die by lethal injection’ it should be ‘sentenced to die by organ removal’.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    The real question is, WHY is this monster still alive 20 years later?

  • Scott Wagner

    Have any of you making comments on here ever done something wrong and then later repented and made things right? No man has the right to judge another one. Only God can judge. If there were a way to successfully donate his organs to his relatives, who have not committed the crimes that he has, then I say let them be donated. The guilty one has already been condemned. Don’t condemn the innocent just because they are relatives.

    • Larry Crnobrnja

      I speed from time to time, BUT I DON’T RAPE AND MURDER 3 YEAR OLD GIRLS! I’m judging this slime ball. There is no “making this right”. May he burn in hell for eternity.

      • Scott Wagner

        Larry, While I respect your right to disagree with me, I must say that I am glad that you are not God, lest we would ALL burn in hell. I am not suggesting that by donating his organs Mr. Phillips is going to “make this right”. But if there is a chance that an innocent family member can have a chance at a better life, do not judge them based on what HE did. I am afraid you missed my point.

        • Larry Crnobrnja

          Sorry man, but I wasn’t talking about his desire to donate organs, just about his actions that landed him on death row. Regarding the organ donation request; I have no opinion other than to think those that made the decision have good reasons.

  • teeky

    let him donate his organs and lethal inject him in the organ transplant operating room. why punish his mother and sister