Ohio death row inmate won't be allowed to donate organs to family members

By MARC KOVAC @ohiocapitalblog mkovac@dixcom.com Published:

COLUMBUS -- An Akron man whose execution was postponed by Gov. John Kasich late last year will not be allowed to donate his organs before his scheduled lethal injection.

State prison officials informed Ronald Phillips of the decision Friday in a letter, noting in correspondence that he and his family members waited too long to make arrangements.

"... Please note that DRC fully intends to carry out Mr. Phillips' execution on July 2, 2014, as scheduled," Stephen Gray, chief counsel for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, wrote to Phillips' legal counsel.

Phillips was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 3-year-old Akron girl more than 20 years ago. He was to be executed in November, but Kasich issued a stay, rescheduling the lethal injection for July.

The postponement came after Phillips requested that his heart and other organs be donated to his ailing mother and sister. That request was initially denied by prison officials, but the governor's decision allowed time to determine if the organ donations were feasible and if a transplant could be accomplished before his execution.

In a January letter to Phillips' legal counsel, Gray noted that the inmate and his family members were not moving quickly on potential transplants.

"Significantly, over two months have passed since the short reprieve was granted, and it appears that only a little progress has been made by your client and his mother to move forward with this process," he wrote.

In his letter Friday, Gray noted a Sunday deadline for any organ donation activities -- that's 100 days before the execution -- after which "permission from DRC for Mr. Phillips to donate his kidney or other organ to his mother or other family member will not be granted."

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