Ohio death-row inmate Ronald Phillips will not be allowed to donate his organs to a family member.
The decision was reached because Phillips would not have enough time to recover from the organ donation surgery before his execution.
Phillips’ execution was postponed by Gov. John Kasich from November 2013 to July 2014 to see if he was a viable kidney donor for his mother, who has kidney disease. It was also discussed that he may donate his heart to his sister, who suffers from heart disease.
The transplant surgery had to take place by March 23, wherein Phillips would have at least 100 days to recuperate before his execution date of July 2, reports Cleveland.com.
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Stephen Gray, chief counsel for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, sent a letter to Phillips’ attorney, Timothy Sweeney, on Friday, March 21, stating “it appears certain” that Phillips would not meet the deadline.
Gray also stated in the letter that the state “fully intends” to carry out Phillips’ execution, reports TheNews-Messenger.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction warned Phillips of the upcoming deadline in a letter two months ago where Gary wrote, “Only a little progress has been made by your client and his mother to move forward with this process.” Phillips’ mother was to attend a transplant educational session at Ohio State University’s medical center January 21.
The state views Phillips as any other inmate, and thus has an obligation to make sure he is healthy, even given the fact that he will be put to death.
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“Anyone who’s undergone surgery, it’s humane to have time to heal,” said Ricky Seyfang, a spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Phillips, 40, was sentenced to death in 1993 for raping and killing 3-year-old Sheila Marie Evans, the daughter of his girlfriend.
The state of Ohio approved the last-minute request to postpone Phillips' execution for possible organ donation, after the prison system denied his request. The state wanted time to see if was possible to comply.
“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,” Gov. Kasich said in a statement at the time.
Rob Nichols, spokesman for Kasich, said the governor will not further postpone Phillips’ execution.