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Ohio governor grants clemency for 'too obese to be executed' killer

AP Photo/Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, file

This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections shows inmate Ronald Post. Ohio Gov. John Kasich commuted Post's death sentence on Monday.

Ohio's governor on Monday commuted the death sentence of convicted murderer Ronald Post, but not because of the obese inmate's claim that he was too large to be executed.

Republican Gov. John Kasich said in a statement that Post's legal representation "did not rise to the level that society has come to expect in death penalty cases." Post will instead spend life in prison with no chance of parole, The Associated Press reported. On Friday, a parole board had recommended that Post's death sentence be commuted to a life term, according to Reuters.

Post, 53, had been scheduled to die Jan. 16 for the 1983 shooting death of Helen Vantz in northern Ohio. The woman worked in an Elyria, Ohio motel Post was robbing, and died after the man shot her twice in the back of the head.

In September of this year, Post's lawyers argued their 480-pound client had difficulty losing weight and claimed he would face a "torturous and lingering death" if executed in January. Post also claimed his weight, vein access, scar tissue, depression and other medical problems could pose severe problems for executioners. However in November, a federal judge dismissed this attempt to stop the lethal injection, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported.

Related: Execution halted in Pennsylvania over suppressed evidence

"Governor Kasich made the right decision by granting clemency to Ronald Post," Kevin Werner, executive director of Ohioans to Stop Executions, said in a statement. "The governor carefully examined the totality of mistakes in Mr. Post's case and acted accordingly. Our thoughts remain with the Vantz family."

Kasich told Reuters the clemency "should not be viewed by anyone as diminishing this awful crime or the pain it has caused."

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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