Post, who shot Elyria motel clerk Helen Vantz twice in the head during a robbery 29 years ago, had been scheduled to be executed on Jan. 16. He will now serve life in prison without possibility of parole.
“Regardless of the heinous nature of their crime, a criminal defendant is entitled to an effective defense, especially in a death penalty case,” Kasich said in a statement. “The Parole Board’s conclusion is that Ronald Post did not come close to receiving such a defense. After my own careful review I agree.”
In a split vote, the Ohio Parole Board recommended last week that Kasich spare Post’s life because of problems with his legal representation over the years, including the controversial decision by his trial lawyers to have Post plead no contest to aggravated murder and aggravated robbery charges.
Post was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel following his plea.
In recent months, his lawyers have argued that the state could not guarantee Post a quick and painless death under Ohio’s lethal injection protocols because of his weight and other health problems. One federal judge had already rejected that argument, while a second was due to hold a hearing on the issue today.
Post also has denied killing Vantz, placing the blame on another man Ralph Hall. Post contends he was the getaway driver for Hall, but the Parole Board and prosecutors have rejected that argument.
Source: ChronicleOnline, December 17, 2012