LUCASVILLE -- He was a teenager when he raped and murdered his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter and was sentenced to death for the crime. Today, Akron native Ronald Phillips is pushing 40 years old and pushing the limits of Ohio law.
With one day remaining until his lethal injection, Gov. John Kasich delayed Phillips' execution nine months so he can donate nonvital organs to help save his mother's life.
"This was not a tactic, this was Ron's idea to do this, to try and do something good," Phillips' attorney Timothy Sweeney tells Channel 3 News. "He was fully expecting to be executed Thursday, when he heard the news he said 'God is Good.' "
"I have never heard of a case like this ever before," says Cleveland defense attorney Dean Valore. "Defense attorneys for death row inmates will pull any punch they can to try and spare their client the death penalty."
In a statement released Wednesday Kasich said: "Ronald Phillips committed a heinous crime for which he will face the death penalty. 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."
"It's really unusual. It's a case of first impression in the law, but it remains to be seen what the result is going to be," Valore said.