Ohio Execution Stay: Good Will or Stall Tactic?By: Lacy Langley - November 14, 2013
Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, delayed the execution of convicted killer, Ronald Phillips. The execution of Phillips, who raped and killed his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, was delayed because Phillips said he wanted to donate his organs, according to Fox News.
Phillips had never mentioned wanting to donate his organs before this, which happened to be approved 24 hours before he was to become the first inmate to die from a lethal injection of a new drug combination. So, is this organ donation bid a desperate play for more time, or a true attempt at some final good deeds?
Governor Kasich seems to think that it could be a last attempt to do good that should be taken advantage of either way. He said that while Phillips’ crimes were truly detestable, his willingness to donate his organs could save another life, and should be considered. “I realize this is a bit of uncharted territory for Ohio, but if another life can be saved by his willingness to donate his organs and tissues then we should allow for that to happen,” Kasich said in a statement.
According to Fox 13, there is a letter written by his attorney, in which Phillips specifically requests that his heart be given to his sister, who has a heart condition. He also wants one or both of his kidneys go to his mother, who is “suffering from kidney disease and on dialysis.”
The letter also states, “But, even if his specific suggestions as to recipients cannot be honored, he is nonetheless willing to do whatever is necessary to enable as many people as possible to benefit from his death.”
There are around 3,500 people just in Ohio, and more than 120,000 in the US that could benefit and are currently awaiting organ donations, said Marilyn Pongonis, spokeswoman for the Lifeline of Ohio organ donation program, so shouldn’t every chance for organs to be donated be taken?
Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, whose group is opposed to the death penalty, said, “This step by the governor puts it into a more normal discussion of an inmate, without any security problems, can help save another person and is that the right thing to do,” he said. “With 24 hours to go before an operation had to be carried out, it definitely gets in the way of that process.”
He added,”If the whole idea is to save a life, there’s one life to be saved simply by not executing the person at all.”
However, it’s interesting to note that Phillips made his request after the governor denied him mercy. Phillips had also exhausted all of his other legal options. Then his last request is, ‘Wait, I want to donate my organs!’. Despite the questionable timing, his attorney said it wasn’t a delay tactic but an attempt to do good.
Whatever happens, and whether this last act of Ronald Phillips is a delay tactic or final act of good will, if the donation of organs can help save the lives of others, it should be considered.
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