By Marc Kovac
In an unusual move Wednesday, Gov. John Kasich postponed the execution of an Akron man sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a young Akron girl 20 years ago to determine whether his organs are suitable for transplant.
Ronald Phillips was to receive his lethal injection today at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, but Kasich issued the stay, rescheduling the execution for July 2, 2014.
The stay came after Phillips requested that his heart and other organs be donated to his ailing mother and sister. That request was denied by prison officials.
The governor’s decision will allow more time to determine whether the organ donations are feasible.
“Ronald Phillips committed a heinous crime for which he will face the death penalty,” Kasich said in a released statement. “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.”
Phillips was slated to be the first inmate put to death under a new two-drug protocol announced by prison officials last month after they ran out of the previous lethal injection drug.
He was moved from death row in Chillicothe to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility on Wednesday morning in advance of his scheduled execution.
Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said Phillips would be returned to Chillicothe “as soon as possible,” and would not be served the special evening meal of pizza, corn chips, ice cream and cheesecake that he ordered, as is customary for inmates awaiting execution.