A view of the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.
Mike Simons/Getty Images

Child killer’s execution delayed to study organ donation


Convicted child rapist and murderer Ronald Phillips was supposed to die on Thursday. But he’ll live for another seven months, thanks to a last-minute postponement ordered by Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Phillips was originally sentenced to death twenty years ago, after he was found guilty of raping and murdering his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter. On Monday, with the date of his execution finally approaching, Phillips requested that his organs be donated to his ailing mother and sister.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction denied denied Phillips’ “unprecedented” request, saying it was because “the Department is not equipped to facilitate organ donation pre- or post-execution.” But Gov. Kasich undid their decision the following day, postponing Phillips’ execution until July 2 so that the state would have time to determine whether organ donation is logistically feasible.

“Ronald Phillips committed a heinous crime for which he will face the death penalty,” said Kasich in a statement. “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.”

Phillips wants to donate his kidneys to his mother, who is currently on dialysis, and his heart to his sister. Donating the heart after execution is not medically feasible, according to Lifeline of Ohio spokesperson Marily Pongonis.

Phillips’ attorney told the press that his request to donate organs was not just a ploy to delay execution.

Ohio has executed 11 people since Gov. Kasich took office in 2011, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Phillips was to be executed using a new, untested two-drug cocktail.