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Pre-execution request to give organs is denied

| Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, 6:03 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A condemned child killer will not be allowed to donate organs to his ailing mother and sister before or during his execution this week, Ohio prisons officials said on Tuesday because the process would pose significant security and logistical challenges.

The request from Ronald Phillips to donate a kidney and his heart was made on Monday, less than 72 hours before he is scheduled to die by lethal injection. Phillips has said through his attorneys that the request was not a delay tactic, but rather an attempt to make a final gesture for good.

Prison officials scrambled to review Phillips' last-minute request, which they called unprecedented, but ultimately could not figure out a way to get the 40-year-old to and from an offsite hospital while following security procedures leading up to an execution. Phillips is scheduled to die Thursday by an injection of a sedative and painkiller that has never been used in a U.S. execution.

The department says it will be up to his family whether the organs are donated after his death. It is unclear whether they would be viable when Phillips' body is turned over to his family.

The prisons department “has reviewed the options and has determined that the department is not equipped to facilitate organ donation pre- or post-execution,” said spokeswoman JoEllen Smith.

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