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Ohio calls obesity no bar to execution

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The warden of the prison where Ohio puts inmates to death says the state’s execution table can easily hold a condemned inmate who has argued he is so big it might collapse.

The table was tested by placing an equally heavy prison employee on it and additionally by placing weights on it.

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‘‘The execution table held firmly and showed no signs of instability,’’ Donald Morgan, warden at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, said in a court filing late Monday opposing inmate Ronald Post’s request to be spared.

Judging by the two tests, Morgan said he is confident the table ‘‘can and will accommodate the weight of inmate Post for his scheduled execution.’’

Post’s attorneys said last month he weighs 480 pounds, while the state says Post weighed 396 pounds last week.

Post, 53, is scheduled to die on Jan. 16 for the 1983 shooting death of Helen Vantz in Elyria.

Vantz’s son, Bill Vantz, has called Post’s arguments ‘‘laughable.’’

Post argues his weight, vein access, scar tissue, depression, and other medical problems raise the likelihood his executioners would encounter severe problems.

‘‘Indeed, given his unique physical and medical condition, there is a substantial risk that any attempt to execute him will result in serious physical and psychological pain to him, as well as an execution involving a torturous and lingering death,’’ a court filing said last month.

His attorneys warned in a statement Tuesday that trying to execute Post will turn out worse than the state’s unsuccessful 2009 attempt to execute Romell Broom, whose execution was stopped after about two hours when executioners could not find a usable vein.

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