An obese death row inmate in Ohio is now claiming innocence in a last-ditch effort to stop his execution. Ronald Post weighs more than 400 pounds and is charged with killing Helen Vantz in 1983.
According to reports, Post initially tried to delay his execution, which is scheduled for January, by claiming that his extra weight could cause severe pain during the procedure. Post claimed that his weight was due to severe depression and loss of mobility and that he did not have accessible veins in his arms or hands because of the excess weight. He made his first appeal in 1997, but that was denied.
A judge rejected another, more recent petition on the grounds that he did not demonstrate "that his medical condition has changed so significantly, or that Ohio's new lethal injection procedures have changed so radically, since he filed his first petition in 1997 that his original core complaints are transformed into something new," Judge Lesley Wells said at the time.
Now, though, he has changed his story and is claiming that while he was "complicit in the robbery" in 1983, he did not enter the hotel where Vantz was killed. Post has said that another man shot Vantz during the robbery, but prosecutor Dennis Will has said that Post took full responsibility for his actions when he pleaded no contest to the crime in 1984.
According to court documents, Post has now said that he knew two men were talking about robbing the hotel but never took their claims seriously. It "wasn't until the next day when he read in the papers about the murder, did he realize that they had been serious," reports stated.
Post allegedly told several people about killing Vantz, and witnesses saw him in the lobby of the hotel at the time of the shooting. That testimony "provides a compelling showing that Post was alone with Helen Vantz shortly before the crime," Will argued.
Post has a parole hearing on Dec. 6 that could change his fate, though it is highly unlikely.