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Ohio killer loses in court but manages to win clemency



Published: Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Ronald Post and his lawyers tried for years to convince a court that he was too fat to be executed.

At 450 pounds, his lawyers argued, Post was so fat that his executioners wouldn’t be able to find veins for the intravenous injection of the lethal drugs. They even suggested that the weight of his body would cause the gurney in the death chamber to collapse. And they said that if the drugs were injected into his muscle rather than a vein, it might take hours or days to kill him.

Those bizarre arguments failed, and he was scheduled to die by lethal injection Jan. 13 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville.

Not anymore. While Post’s various appeals over the years were all rejected by courts up to the Supreme Court of the United States, he finally found a sympathetic ear — or rather five sympathetic ears — at the Ohio Parole Board.

A different tack

There, his public defenders did not argue over Post’s weight or his susceptibility to what they said would be cruel and inhuman punishment. They talked about how Post had received bad legal representation when he pleaded guilty to the murder of an Elyria motel clerk, Helen Vantz, during a 1983 robbery.

By a vote of 5-3 the board recommend mercy, not because he board doubted his guilt, but because the representation he received did not meet the expectations in a death penalty case. There were different possible scenarios for the crime, some of which had Post pulling the trigger, some of them having him case the motel and act as a getaway driver. Our view would be that whatever active role he played in a robbery that resulted in Helen Vantz being shot in cold blood would make him eligible for the death penalty. That he may have pleaded guilty expecting to receive less than the death penalty only demonstrates that he considered himself less culpable than did the sentencing judge.

Difficult decision

We can understand that this case presented Gov. John Kasich with one of the most difficult things a governor is required to do in states that have the death penalty, which is to sign death warrants. He has done so, before, and he should have done so this time.

However, Kasich agreed with the parole board’s reading of the case, and Post no longer has a date with the executioner. Kasich commuted Post’s sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

We’re going to hazard a guess that now that the death penalty is off the table, Post finds a way to start dropping some of those excess pounds he’s been carrying.

Now that being morbidly obese is no longer a potential life-saver for Post, no one should be surprised if he starts following a more healthful regimen.

Post is now 53, the same age as Helen Vantz was when she was murdered. He gained nearly 200 pounds during three decades on death row. We’re betting he hopes to lose 200 over the next 30 years as the taxpayers of Ohio continue to keep him in the style to which he’s become accustomed.

While Post is dieting and contemplating his remaining years without the threat of execution hanging over his head, his victim’s family faces a different prospect. They are left to contemplate the three decades spent without closure or justice and to wonder how many more decades Post will get to spend above ground while their loved one lies beneath it.


Comments

1charms(228 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

I have witnessed over the years that the Vindy never agrees with clemency or leniency in dealing with criminals, yet such an approach is a valued part of our justice system.

Also, there is always an emphasis on focusing on the victim's "right to closure or justice," meaning their right to have a criminal killed by the state.

Criminal law was not designed to act as retribution. Just punishment for crimes "against the state" has to include mercy as well as justice.

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2Ianacek(889 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

The death penalty is a political act , nothing more. Mourning families are exploited by the state to keep nursing a desire for vengeance ( also known as "closure" ) for many years past what is the norm in non death penalty jurisdictions. There have been studies done showing families recover more quickly when they are not constantly reminded that one day they are expected to attend an execution in order to complete their grieving .

It is the state, for its own political purposes ,& by allowing a multidecade appeals process, that has given Mr Post that power over the family .

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3uselesseater(229 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Disgusting.

Fat a%% can't deal with his sentence because it is cruel and unusual?

Being a fatso at 450 pounds is cruel and unusual. Who is feeding this whale? Someone is giving him special treatment and extra food.

Stupid legal gimmicks like this, where such a stupid argument can be levied and court time wasted. It needs to stop.

To solve this, we should just bring back the firing squad and shoot the convicted. Death by hot lead.

"They talked about how Post had received bad legal representation when he pleaded guilty to the murder of an Elyria motel clerk"

If that is true, then feel free to bring him back for another trial or resentencing. Do something. It is just as wrong for him to sit idly in a cage as be given death penalty.

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4commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

So in the future if your a fat ass you can kill someone and get away with it. This idiots lawyers should be happy to get someone like this of off death row, I wonder what they would do if it was THEIR mother,sister daughter that got killed.
Why not just shoot the bast*** like he was involved in, that mustn't have been "cruel and unusual punishment". I'll even provide the bullet!!!

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5gdog4766(1402 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Those that ask for mercy the most, give it the least.

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6Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

charm
"Also, there is always an emphasis on focusing on the victim's "right to closure or justice," meaning their right to have a criminal killed by the state."

lance
"Mourning families are exploited by the state to keep nursing a desire for vengeance ( also known as "closure" ) for many years past what is the norm in non death penalty jurisdictions. There have been studies done showing families recover more quickly when they are not constantly reminded that one day they are expected to attend an execution in order to complete their grieving ."

Look in the family members of Helen Vantz and tell them that. If that was your mother would you think differently?? I highly doubt it!

Helen's Vantz son's letter to the editor of the Lorain Morning Journey. (part of it)

http://www.morningjournal.com/article...

I am now 54 years old, a year older than my mother at the time of her murder. We, my family and friends have waited too long for the day that he is executed for this heinous crime. Some did not live long enough to see the day that justice is served. The passing of her sister Clara Duffield Payler is the most regretful. My aunt suffered a stroke not long after the murder due in part by the strain and anguish she felt in the loss of her younger sister. The day that he was sentenced Clara turned to my wife and I and said, “I just hope I live long enough to see it.” She did not, and neither did my mother-in-law and other friends and relatives. They might have if the Lorain County Prosecutor’s office hadn’t lost a file for eight years!

My children, Jessica Grace and Robert John, never got to know either of my parents. My father had passed away three years prior to my mother’s murder. He took that from them when he pulled that trigger. They have middle names in respectful memory of my parents.

Some have said that since it’s been so long just let him stay in prison for the remainder of his natural life. No! I am as committed to this as the day he took her life. I will never forgive or forget what he took from us. We all have recourse to the law and it’s time he paid his debt to society. It’s way overdue!

William Vantz

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7charms(228 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Life,

"We all have recourse to the law and it’s time he paid his debt to society. It’s way overdue!"

Criminal cases are titled, "The State v. John Doe" for a reason.

Even though criminal activity affects people, it's the state that justice is owed to, not the victims. If this is not so, the state then acts in a thinly veiled masquerade for personal vengeance.

We cannot, as a society, tolerate the government acting to advance personal vendettas in the guise of "justice."

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8Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

charm

You didn't answer my question, if that was your Mother or someone you loved, that was shot from behind in the head for $100 and a TV, would you feel different about justice? Would you not want justice to the cowardly murderer that did that? You can live with the fact the animal that killed your mother for NO REASON at all and still gets to live out his life. If you can, then you must not value peoples time on this planet that ends way to soon on the hands of cowardly killers! You really think this fat monster cares about Helen Vantz and her family, his only care is staying alive! Real fair, huh? He's laughing and eating and enjoying his days on Earth, well Helen Vantz is dead. So fair isn't it?

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9paulparks(235 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Life,

Yes, I believe that I would want to "strike back" at the criminal, but that doesn't make it right or societally acceptable.

You talk about "justice" and "fainess" but life is unjust and unfair. Many commit heinous crimes and escape punishment and innocent people are pawns in some maniac's delusions - like last Friday.

I do value people's lives on this planet. I value that criminal's life, too.

As a civilized society, we have come way beyond "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."

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10charms(228 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Life,

I too believe I would want to strike back at the criminal, but justice needs an element of mercy to be right.

As far as valuing life, I do value people's lives, including the unborn and the unwanted.

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11paulparks(235 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Post is a pathetic individual, but the fact that he is a criminal does not mean that he is "less than human" and not deserving of compassion.

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12commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

paul, What would you want for this person? Could you have compassion for someone that killed YOUR mother,sister,etc. SHOOT the bast***, like they did the defensless woman.

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13streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Life and common,

The best way I can categorize your positions in all of this is VINDICTIVE!

We are a civil society. The Constitution protects us all, including Post.

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14charms(228 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Common and Life,

Please cite me one instance in western cultural criminal law where the aggrieved victim gets to enact "justice" (as you call it) against a criminal.

Guess what - you won't find it!

Your way of thinking seems to belong to cultures unlike ours.

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15Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

paul

((((I do value people's lives on this planet. I value that criminal's life, too.))))

Why?? If he did that to your mom would you value is pitiful life? Be honest.

(((As a civilized society, we have come way beyond "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.")))

That is why we have so many INNOCENT people MURDERED. The innocent ones are civilized, the cowardly murderers are uncivilized. Maybe if we had a eye for a eye..... and quickly at that, there would be less cowardly murderers! The death penalty as it is now, these cowards know they'll still get to live and have bleeding hearts like you that protect them.

((((You talk about "justice" and "fainess" but life is unjust and unfair. Many commit heinous crimes and escape punishment and innocent people are pawns in some maniac's delusions - like last Friday.))))

And that cowardly POS is DEAD. Get it. Whether he kills himself or the state, the pitiful monster is gone! That is some justice. All the cowardly murderers should commit suicide. Be a better society.

charms

"Please cite me one instance in western cultural criminal law where the aggrieved victim gets to enact "justice" (as you call it) against a criminal."

If any victims family had the chance to enact justice on these pitiful lowlife cockroaches they would, as you would to, if that was your mother, sister, brother, etc.
So the states have to do it, big deal. They live long enough as it is awaiting there time to go to hell.

street

(((The best way I can categorize your positions in all of this is VINDICTIVE!)))

If that was your mom wouldn't you say the same thing.

I would love for you's to look right into the eyes of these families of the victims, and tell them there killers should live the rest of there lives. I would pay to see that.

All these cowards should get death quickly! Clear cut cases.

EX: James E. Holmes

EX: One L. Goh

EX: Jake England and Alvin Watts

EX: Nathan Van Wilkins

And on and on and on.......

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16charms(228 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Life,

You are so quick to demand the death penalty, when it has been shown that the death penalty does not deter crime.

You say that people who are against the death penalty are bleeding hearts (liberals), when I submit to you that I am a conservative, not a liberal.

And your vicious description of victims families enacting "justice" is scary. What do you think this is, the wild west?

I only hope that you never get on a death penalty jury.

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17Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

charms

Why didn't you answer my question?

Read this letter from this coward killer, Danny Robbie Hembree.

Danny Robbie Hembree Writes Shocking Letter

Here's part of it...

Is the public aware that I am a gentleman of lesiure, watching color TV in the A.C., reading, takeing naps at will, eating three well balanced hot meals a day. I'm housed in a building that connects to the new 55 million dollar hospital with round the clock free medical care 24/7.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01...

Enough said...

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18charms(228 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Life,

If your question is would I want to personally punish the perpetrator of a crime against my family, the answer is - probably yes.

But my possibly wanting personal vengeance has absolutely nothing to do with enactimg societal justice. Can't you see that?

You want to take all things personally - and make personal vindictiveness the rule of law.

As far as Hembree, he is a fool. And his asinine attitude does not make "personal vengeance" more appropriate in his case.

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19commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

charms, How many more people did the executed killer kill AFTER he/she was put to death ---Answer: NONE

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20Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

charm

""But my possibly wanting personal vengeance has absolutely nothing to do with enactimg societal justice. Can't you see that?

You want to take all things personally - and make personal vindictiveness the rule of law."""

But if your OK with vengeance against a cowardly murderer if that was someone in your family or a friend you loved, why isn't it OK for the victims family wanting vengeance? Why wouldn't that be social justice?

If that was someone in my family or someone I loved you better believe I would take it personal! And I wouldn't stop till that coward was six feet under. There are times when a victims family don't want the coward to get the death penalty and the courts agree with it. Nothing wrong with that either. Should be up to the family of the victims, whether to put the cowardly cockroach down or not. And believe it or not, they do have a say in it.

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21charms(228 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Life,

Funny how when a family of a victim wants to extend mercy, the state will go along, but the victim's family couldn't mandate the death penalty in a case that didn't meet the qualifications.

To me, this is an acknowledgement that the death penalty is unconstitutional. A criminal's death by the state shouldn't hang on the whim of the victim's family.

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