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Man set for execution can't donate organs

NEED TO KNOW
  • Convicted child killer and rapist's request denied Tuesday; scheduled to die Thursday
  • He wanted to give his organs to his mother and sister
Man set for execution can't donate organs
Ronald Phillips

A convicted child killer and rapist's request to donate his organs to his mother and sister after he is executed was denied Tuesday.

The 40-year-old is scheduled to die Thursday by lethal injection for murdering and raping his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in 1993.

In a letter written by his attorney, Ronald Phillips (pictured above) requested Monday that his heart be given to his sister, who has an unspecified heart condition, and that one or both of his kidneys go to his mother, who is "suffering from kidney disease and on dialysis."

Read more: Governor grants stay of execution for Ronald Phillips

The letter also states: "But, even if his specific suggestions as to recipients cannot be honored, he is nonetheless willing to do whatever is necessary to enable as many people as possible to benefit from his death."

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction denied Phillips request for pre-execution donation, citing the late hour in which the request was made, just 48 hours before his scheduled execution. They also denied post-execution donation.

Stephen Gray, an attorney for the DRC, wrote, "Although DRC recognizes that organ donation is a laudable goal, DRC is not equipped to facilitate organ donation for Mr. Phillips. DRC respectfully declines your request for post-execution organ donation. DRC considers organ donation to be a private matter between Mr. Phillips, his family and his attorneys."

Gray's letter also says that after Phillips' death Thursday, his body will be handed over to his family and they "may take whatever action they wish with the physical body, including pursuing organ donation."

Anne Paschke, a representative for the United Network for Organ Sharing, a organization that facilitates organ matching throughout the nation, told HLN that Phillips will not be able to donate his vital organs, but may be able to donate tissue or his eyes.

"In order to be an organ donor after your heart stops beating you have to be medically managed in a hospital. Usually in those cases someone has been on life support," said Paschke. "When someone is brain dead and going to be a donor they keep them on a ventilator so the oxygenated blood keeps flowing through the organs so they remain viable for transplantation."

Phillips is not the first death row inmate to request organ donation. Before Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber declared a moratorium on the state's death penalty in 2011, Christian Longo, who was on death row, sought to donate his organs. The Supreme Court of Oregon upheld the governor's moratorium in June, consequently sparing Longo's life.

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