Published March 21, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio said Friday it was denying a condemned child killer's request to donate organs to his family members, saying he didn't have enough time to undergo the surgery and recuperate for his summer execution.
Organ donation surgery would have to have been completed by this coming Sunday to give the death row inmate, Ronald Phillips, enough time to recover before the July 2 execution, but Phillips had not shown he was anywhere close that happening, according to letters from state prison officials to Phillips' attorney.
The state "fully intends" to carry out Phillips' execution, Stephen Gray, the prison system's chief counsel, wrote to defense attorney Timothy Sweeney.
Sweeney declined to comment.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction warned Phillips about the Sunday deadline in a letter two months ago, according to documents released by the state.
Phillips, 40, was out of appeals in November when he made a last-minute request to donate the organs, including a kidney to his sister and possibly his heart to his mother. The prison system rejected his request, but Gov. John Kasich delayed the execution until July 2 to give the state time to see whether it 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," Kasich said in a statement at the time.
Phillips was sentenced to die for the rape and death of Sheila Marie Evans, his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, in Akron in 1993.
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.