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Food in Prison Must be Mighty Tasty


Ohio inmate says he's too fat for execution

ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, Associated Press Writer

A death row inmate scheduled for execution says he's too fat to be put to death, claiming executioners would have trouble finding his veins and that his weight could diminish the effectiveness of one of the lethal injection drugs.

Lawyers for Richard Cooey argue in a federal lawsuit that Cooey — 5-feet-7 and 267 pounds — had poor veins when he faced execution five years ago and the problem has been worsened by weight gain.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court, also says prison officials have had difficulty drawing blood from Cooey for medical procedures.

Cooey, 41, is sentenced to die for raping and murdering two young women in 1986. His execution is scheduled for Oct. 14.

His attorneys say a drug he is taking for migraine headaches could affect the execution process. The drug Topamax, a type of seizure medication, may have created a resistance to thiopental, the drug used to put inmates to sleep before two other lethal drugs are administered, Dr. Mark Heath, a physician hired by the Ohio Public Defender's Office, said in documents filed with the court.

Heath says Cooey's weight, combined with the potential drug resistance, increases the risk he would not be properly anesthetized.

"All of the experts agree if the first drug doesn't work, the execution is going to be excruciating," Cooey's public defender, Kelly Culshaw Schneider, said Monday.

Prison system spokeswoman Andrea Carson and Jim Gravelle, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General's Office, both said Monday they hadn't seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment.

Last year, Carson cited the obesity of condemned inmate Christopher Newton as one of the reasons prison officials had difficulty accessing his veins before his execution. Newton was 6 feet tall and weighed 265 pounds.

Two years ago, convicted killer Jeffrey Lundgren was put to death after a federal appeals court rejected his claim that he was at greater risk of experiencing pain and suffering because he was overweight and diabetic.

Entry #157


justxploringComment by justxploring - August 4, 2008, 4:57 pm
He was convicted in 1986 of rape & murder!   So we've been paying taxes to feed & shelter this dirtbag for 22 years? Sad that stray animals get put down only get 3 days after they've been caught and they haven't done anything wrong.
justxploringComment by justxploring - August 4, 2008, 5:11 pm
By the way, I didn't post this to say I agree we should torture people to death, no matter what they've done.   But I've had surgery without being put under, so I know all they have to do is dope him up with lots of pills and he won't feel a thing.

However, I wonder if he made sure the 2 women he raped & murdered were comfortable before they died.
time*treatComment by time*treat - August 4, 2008, 5:58 pm
22 years paying to feed, shelter, guard, provide sanitation, medical & dental, recreation for, & clothe the 'dirtbag' - and his peers. Think of all the industries depending on your supporting dollars. Not to mention the judges, clerks, officers, and detectives involved. What, you wanna' put 'em all out of work?
That's not very compassionate. :-)
TenajComment by Tenaj - August 4, 2008, 6:22 pm
Maybe if he skipped the "Monster Ball" it will help. Monster Ball is the last meal before the execution - they can have anything they want.

You know I use to be against capital punishment, I'm not sure now. Because it doesn't make any sense to house someone for 22 years just to kill them if they truly did comment a crime that warrants it and will only kill again. And I thought death row can only be delayed 9 years anyway.
LittleoldladyComment by Littleoldlady - August 4, 2008, 6:35 pm
I don't believe in the death penalty nor do I believe his lawyers either. If that is the best they can do, I guess he will meet his maker on schedule. It never ceases to amaze me at some of the excuses these lawyers put forth for their clients. They must be the free ones.
time*treatComment by time*treat - August 4, 2008, 6:58 pm
I'm against that aspect of the death penalty that it isn't applied evenly. Two people tried for identical crimes may get very different punishments for reasons having little to do with the nature of the offense. That said, some people *need* killin' :-)
If someone breaks into your house, are you going to sit them down for coffee, recount their troubled childhood, and recommend counseling?
"Wait a minute Ms. Hatchet, I have to call the police. What's that? You cut the phone line? Oh, darn!"
"Oh, Mr. Rapist, put that thing away. You're always clowning around. Yes, yes, I can tell you're glad to see me."
justxploringComment by justxploring - August 4, 2008, 7:30 pm
Tenaj, like you, I never believed in the death penalty. It was mainly because you can't bring back a life. With modern technology like DNA testing, some people have been released from prison who were convicted of violent crimes.

Time*treat, I wish I could link you to the steps taken to suspend (mistakenly) my driver's license and the reinstate it. There is no record of this any more (maybe!) but it was all due to a data entry error. I was clueless this was happening, because I got a ticket, paid the ticket with the discount for taking a scheduled class, went to the class, sent the certificate of completion and somehow the "system" showed I paid the fine short $20. No kidding, but the steps it shows on the report called Traffic Case Detail from the Clerk of Circuit Court is ludicrous to me. Starting with "Defendant pled nolo contendre" to "defendant sentenced" to "defendant elected traffic school option" (skip, skip) to "Defendant failed to pay fine" to "Defendant showed proof that school was completed" to "Amended RT ADJ- Clerk withheld adjudication of guilt" and "D/L Reinstated at Clerk's office" was dated 1/27/2002 to 3/15/2002. Thank goodness I wasn't out of town when Tallahassee mailed the notice stating my privileges would be revoked. I went to the Lee County Clerk's office so I'd have written proof and still have copies of everything (including a short apology) even though for years I've renewed my registration and my license without a problem. Guess I don't trust the system. ;-)

That's probably why I've always been against the death penalty in most cases. Sometimes a person is innocent even when all the evidence points to his guilt. It probably doesn't happen too often, but it does happen. My main concern is that our justice system is discriminatory and the death penalty would be used disproportionately against the poor.
time*treatComment by time*treat - August 4, 2008, 7:50 pm
That's one of the reasons I dislike all these databases. One dyslexic clerk and the jackboots are kicking your door in, gunning you down. "Oops, wrong address." No high-level who works for the "system" is ever held accountable.
emilygComment by emilyg - August 4, 2008, 10:11 pm
He has lived much longer than his 2 victims. Can't feel too sorry for him.
Comment by pacattack05 - August 4, 2008, 11:38 pm
He claims he's too fat. I have a suggestion. Stop feeding him....lol

If the bleeding hearts out there feel it's torture to execute someone with starvation, just try to imagine those young women, most likely, pleading for their lives in terror, knowing at some point that this was it for sure.

I have a better plan. Lock him in a basement with 10 insurance salesmen.

I thought you'd change your mind....
justxploringComment by justxploring - August 5, 2008, 3:24 am
Pac, I don't understand your comment. The "torture" would be that it would be difficult to anesthetize him. This has nothing to do with starvation. Although I'd like to see every violent criminal punished, we cannot become violent criminals ourselves or we will lose our humanity. I agree he doesn't deserve any sympathy, but I don't see why he doesn't just take a large dose of benzos before they poke the needle in him? Lethal injection is supposed to be very painful. Still, if I were the mother of one of his victims, I probably would just say "cut off his ...... and let him bleed out."
TenajComment by Tenaj - August 5, 2008, 9:37 am
They ought to write a law saying that people that are too fat or have any other problem that might make lethal injection in-human - will be hanged. That will cut off out all of that.

justxploringComment by justxploring - August 5, 2008, 5:20 pm
Tenaj, that would probably "tie" things up in court even longer. ;-)    What I don't get is when people want to watch executions. I know there has to be witnesses however.

Ever see the movie "The Green Mile?" The electric chair was called Old Sparky.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - August 5, 2008, 6:51 pm
I agree with Tenaj about the hangmans noose.
Firing squad would also be an option.

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