Thursday, August 7, 2008
COLUMBUS - A death row inmate scheduled for execution in October says he's so fat that Ohio 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 had poor veins when he faced execution five years ago and that the problem has been worsened by weight gain.
They cite a document filed by a prison nurse in 2003 that said Cooey had sparse veins and that executioners would need extra time.
"When you start the IVs come 15 minutes early," wrote the nurse who examined Cooey. "I don't have any veins."
The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Columbus, also says prison officials have had difficulty drawing blood from Cooey for medical procedures. Cooey is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 267 pounds, according to the lawsuit.
Cooey, 41, was sentenced to die for raping and murdering two female University of Akron students in 1986. In April, he lost a challenge to Ohio's lethal injection process when the U.S. Supreme Court said he had missed a deadline to file a lawsuit.
Cooey's execution is scheduled for Oct. 14. He would be the first inmate put to death in Ohio since Christopher Newton was executed last year for killing a prison cellmate.
It would also be the first execution in Ohio since the end of an unofficial national moratorium on executions that began last year while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed Kentucky's lethal injection procedure. [Mark Godsey]