'Too fat to die' murderer is executed

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The Independent US

A double murderer who claimed he was too fat to be safely executed was put to death by lethal injection today.

Richard Cooey, 5ft 7ins and 19 stones, had tried to escape his sentence by claiming his obesity would cause difficulty in finding suitable veins for the shots.

Cooey ,41, who killed two Ohio university students in 1986, lost a final appeal earlier today to the US Supreme Court.

Cooey and a then-17-year-old accomplice were convicted of the murders of Wendy Offredo and Dawn McCreery.

The men had been throwing concrete slabs off a bridge on to a main road and one of them struck Ms Offredo's car.

Pretending to "rescue" the women, Cooey and Clinton Dickens took the victims to a remote field.

They were subjected to a three-and-a-half-hours of rape, torture, stabbing, and fatal bludgeoning. Cooey carved an "X" into the stomachs of both women.

Each man blamed the other for delivering the fatal blows, but both were convicted of murder. Dickens received a life sentence because of his age.

Cooey's argument also had been rejected by a federal appeals court in Cincinnati and the Ohio Supreme Court, with both courts ruling that he missed a deadline for filing appeals.

A prisons spokeswoman said Cooey received a pre-execution exam early today and was cleared.

He walked into the death chamber at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville at at 10.15am and was strapped onto a trolley.

"You (expletive) haven't paid any attention to anything I've said in the last 22 1/2 years, why would anyone pay any attention to anything I've had to say now," Cooey said looking at the ceiling. He made no other comment.

Cooey tapped the fingers of his left hand several times before he died.

His lawyers had argued that Cooey was 75 pounds heavier than when he went to death row - the result of prison food and 23-hour-a-day confinement.

The last Ohio inmate to be executed was Christopher Newton - who was similar in size to Cooey - in May 2007. The execution team had trouble putting needles in his arm, which delayed his execution nearly two hours. There were similar problems in the execution of another inmate in 2006.