Too Fat To Fry? (i.e., Execute Via Lethal Injection)


Convicted rapist and murderer Richard Cooey was set to be executed in Ohio in 2003 when a last-minute stay by a federal judge stopped the proceedings.

Now Cooey is slated to be executed on October 14 for his role in the 1986 double kidnapping, beating, sexual assault, and murder of two young women. Cooey's lawyers will argue that he is too fat to be killed—that it will be impossible for technicians to find the proper veins through which to administer the drugs that will kill the 5-feet, 7-inches, 267-pound man.

I am against the death penalty—I don't think that the state should have the right to take a life; I think the state's role is to protect citizens from danger and that can be accomplished via life imprisonment—but Cooey's argument is so absurd that it beggars my own beliefs.

So do the details of his crime: He and a confederate (who is improbably serving only a life sentence), threw concrete from a highway overpass onto a car, then pretended to give assistance to motorists before attacking and killing them. (Cooey claims he didn't participate in the murders and is guilty "only" of rape.) Such actions undermine any sympathy borne of Cooey's own abusive upbringing, in which soiled diapers were rubbed in his face and he was repeatedly struck with a hammer by his father.

If we have a death penalty that can be applied in an error-free way (a huge if, to be sure, and one that might be insurmountable), then Cooey certainly seems worth of paying that price (as does his partner in crime). Certainly getting too fat in prison shouldn't allow a killer to escape the hangman's noose.

More here.