Ohio Gov. John Kasich stayed the execution of a convicted killer Wednesday to study his request to donate the man's organs to his ailing mother and others.
Ohio prison officials had planned to execute Ronald Phillips, 40, Wednesday morning at the state's correctional facility near Lucasville. He had used up all of his legal appeals, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
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He has now been moved to the Chillicothe Correctional Institution in southern Ohio.
Phillips is on death row for the 1993 beating, rape and murder of 3-year-old Sheila Marie Evans, the daughter of his girlfriend at the time.
His attorney Tim Sweeney said his mother is on kidney dialysis treatment, and he wanted to donate his organs to her. He is willing to share his organs with others as well.
Sweeney said to the Dispatch that Phillips moved "by love for his mom and for the desire to do something good. He’s been very remorseful for what he did, thoughtful and reflective over the past couple weeks."
The Associated Press reported
that Phillips mentioned he wanted to give his heart to his sister, who suffers from a heart ailment.
Roughly 3,500 Ohioans and more than 120,000 nationwide are on organ donor waiting list, said Marilyn Pongonis, a Lifeline of Ohio organ donation program spokeswoman.
State prison officials had initially rejected Phillips' organ donation request on Tuesday. They said he had not expressed such an interest until two days before his execution, which left them with little time to examine the logistic and security issues.
"Ronald Phillips committed a heinous crime for which he will face the death penalty," Kasich said in a statement, wrote the Columbus Dispatch. "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."
Kasich added if Phillips "is found to be a viable donor to his mother or possibly others awaiting transplants of nonvital organs, such as kidneys, the procedures would be performed and then he would be returned to Death Row to await his new execution date."
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