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Ohio Execution Stay: Good Will or Stall Tactic?

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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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Ohio Execution Stay: Good Will or Stall Tactic?
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  • Lisa

    I do not think this should be allowed no matter what the circumstances are. If this was his request this should have been brought to like before the petition was been denied. Are you setting precedence that it ok for an inmate to stall for a last ditch effort to delay his sentencing to be carried out? What about the safety of the organs? This person has been institutionalized, do you want to implant organs in to people other than his family. Does Life line want to end up in wrongful death suits by allow this to happen? I understand to well how many people need organs for transplants. But at what cost? Do we endanger the public just to give this man a little longer to “atone for his sins” after what he did to child. And the Governor thinks this is fine to put put the people of this state and others around at risk. This should not be allowed to happen.

  • Nikki

    I commend John Kasich for allowing this stay to happen. Regardless of what this man did, the ability to utilize his organs to save others (whether it’s his family or others,) is a good thing. There are too many good people dying because they can’t locate the necessary organs to save them. I do not however, give any “props” to this inmate for his stall tactics. I do however, hope more inmates do this if they have the ability to. As long as they are a willing and healthy organ donor, I see no reason they shouldn’t be allowed to do this. So he lives a little longer – he will still receive his punishment as seen fit by the state. Nothing will bring back the little girl or change what he did to her, but I’m sure her family would rather someone else have the chance to live and not go through the pain they did.

  • William Wittenauer

    This is nothing but a stall tactic. When life in prison MEANS LIFE IN PRISON we can do away with capital punishment.

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