Stay of execution for possible organ donor in Ohio

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By Graham Winch


(CNN) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich granted a convicted killer a stay of execution on Wednesday to allow medical experts time to assess whether his nonvital organs or tissues can be donated to his family members or others.

Ronald Phillips was scheduled to die via injection on Thursday for murdering and raping his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in 1993.

“Ronald Phillips committed a heinous crime for which he will face the death penalty. 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,” said statement released by Kasich’s office.

Phillips’ execution ws rescheduled for July 2, 2014, the governor said. It is not clear when the medical experts will be able to access his case.

In a letter written by his attorney, Phillips requested Monday that his heart be given to his sister, who has an unspecified heart condition, and that 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.”

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction originally denied Phillips’ Tuesday request for pre-execution donation, citing the late hour in which the request was made, just 48 hours before his scheduled execution. The department had also denied post-execution donation.

Stephen Gray, an attorney for the department, wrote, “Although DRC recognizes that organ donation is a laudable goal, DRC is not equipped to facilitate organ donation for Mr. Phillips. DRC respectfully declines your request for post-execution organ donation. DRC considers organ donation to be a private matter between Mr. Phillips, his family and his attorneys.”

Phillips is not the first death row inmate to request organ donation. Before Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a moratorium on the state’s death penalty in 2011, Christian Longo, who was on death row, sought to donate his organs. The Supreme Court of Oregon upheld the governor’s moratorium in June, consequently sparing Longo’s life.

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  • MJ Brewer

    Wouldn’t that be strange if science is correct in denoting the memory of living tissue? I don’t believe I would want someone’s parts in my body with these types of grotesque memories attached.

  • blinky

    Hello everybody. The comments posted kinda scare me. It reinforces that Utah is a police state. I never thought in my life I would see so many pro – killing supporters in such a vulgar way. Thus coming from individuals that claim they do not kill themselves, but yet they somehow still support state sanctioned killing. Sure, it will make anyone’s blood boil over the death of anybody, including a three year old, and it makes it hard to not support the death penalty for people like him, but thinking like that is why we live in a police state. That’s why law enforcement kills with impunity, justified or not ( like the girl in West Valley City that was murdered by the cops ). I know what some people might think or say to this comment. They might say that if I had a three year old family member that got murdered how would I feel ? It would be hard to not want the death penalty to be cranked up. But guess what ? Im a 37 year old Utah resident that has spent 20 years in prison and was housed on death row with inmates under sentence of death. More correctly stated : I was housed on death row in two different states. For a crime not justified at all and for a crime I did not commit. In one case the police went to one of the witnesses and told them that once upon a time I had tied my mother to a chair, and took her clothes and raped her, and this lie was said to encourage the witness to lie and cooperate with the state pursuing me ( no such police report exists about this disgusting claim against my mother, and last week Stephen Dark of the City Weekly News drove me to Richfield, Utah to do an interview with me and my family, which included my mother ). I am against the death penalty for religious and CANT GET IT RIGHT REASONS. In this country we cant decipher to 100% on each death penalty case who is innocent or not ( if you think otherwise ask the couple in Utah County that was put on trial for murder while facing the death penalty two years ago for killing their father the BYU professor based solely on CONFLICTING STATEMENTS in which the murder trial was stopped when the real killers made the decision to come forward and turn themselves in ). Or how about the doctor found guilty last week for killing his wife, and when the jurors were questioned by the reporters the jurors acknowledged there WAS NO EVIDENCE at all in the case, which was appalling to hear. In my way of thinking, either there is evidence or there is no evidence ( there is no in between ). When we crank up the death penalty to kill those that we think in our personal opinion are clearly guilty, it opens the death chambers to those that are actually innocent. Remember, in all criminal cases, like the OJ Simpson trial, we can only think what we think we know. The only person with the luxury of knowledge is the accused. I do not see a country thinking like that, because in America we sentence people to death on zero evidence. In other words, in some cases we kill on gut instinct and mere suspicion. I hope you understand the comment that I just posted. If you think I am lying, go to click on blogs and search for the headline that says SURVIVING LIFE AFTER SOLITARY. Or keyword that search by typing in SURVIVING LIFE AFTER SOLITARY. And like I said, last week Mr. Stephen Dark drove me to Richfield to do an interview with me and my family. I was told in a month or two a story will be written and published

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