by Robert A. Waters
In an attempt to stop his execution, scheduled for January 16, 2013, Ronald Post’s lawyers filed the following brief: “There is a substantial risk that any attempt to execute him will result in serious physical and psychological pain to him, as well as an execution involving a torturous and lingering death.” Post, who murdered a motel clerk thirty years ago, now weighs 480 pounds--according to his lawyers, it sometimes takes up to three tries with a needle to find a ripe vein.
Of course, the real victim wasn’t Post. It was Helen Grace Vantz, a 53-year-old clerk at an Ohio motel. Post executed her for $100 as she worked to support herself and her family. Two bullets to the back of the head weren’t pleasant, but his lawyers never mention that.
The victim’s son, William Vantz, recently wrote an open letter addressing the issue:
“To the Editor: residents of Lorain County and the State of Ohio: In the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, the residents of the apartment complex of 148 David Dr., Elyria, enjoyed the manger scene my mother would display in the bay window of her apartment. Every year she would show her love of Christmas to that neighborhood. That is, until 1983 when her life and love was taken as if she [was] just a piece of that plaster display.
“Helen Grace Vantz’s life was not fancy. She was not rich. She was just a working mother of three who didn’t miss work. She would volunteer to work holidays so her co-workers could spend time with family and friends. In 1983, she was encouraged to take Christmas off and spend it with my brother, his wife and only grandson. That Christmas never came for them.
“On Dec. 15, 1983, a non-feeling, low-life piece of human scum put two bullets into the back of her head, execution-style, taking her life. Ronald Ray Post, by his own admission, was the person who pulled that trigger and ended the life of a loving, caring woman at 53 years of age. Why? For his efforts, he walked out of the Slumber Inn Motel’s lobby with approximately $100 and a 13-inch black and white television. She would have given him the money and not put up a fight, but he did the cowardly thing, shooting her from behind while she worked on the nightly receipts. She probably didn’t even know he was behind her.
“Now, 28 years later, it seems that justice will finally be served. Post was convicted and sentenced to death by a three-judge panel in 1985. Numerous appeals were filed and all of them denied by the higher courts. His defense attorneys in the original trial gambled on a no contest plea that had never been tried before. This was in an attempt to save him from the electric chair. It seemed to work for 28 years.
“I am now 54 years old, a year older than my mother at the time of her murder. We, my family and friends have waited too long for the day that he is executed for this heinous crime. Some did not live long enough to see the day that justice is served. The passing of her sister Clara Duffield Payler is the most regretful. My aunt suffered a stroke not long after the murder due in part by the strain and anguish she felt in the loss of her younger sister. The day that he was sentenced Clara turned to my wife and I and said, ‘I just hope I live long enough to see it.’ She did not, and neither did my mother-in-law and other friends and relatives. They might have if the Lorain County Prosecutor’s office hadn’t lost a file for eight years!
“My children, Jessica Grace and Robert John, never got to know either of my parents. My father had passed away three years prior to my mother’s murder. He took that from them when he pulled that trigger. They have middle names in respectful memory of my parents.
“Some have said that since it’s been so long just let him stay in prison for the remainder of his natural life. No! I am as committed to this as the day he took her life. I will never forgive or forget what he took from us. We all have recourse to the law and it’s time he paid his debt to society. It’s way overdue!”
I have no sympathy whatsoever for Post. He's sat in prison gorging his body with food, growing fat and waiting for this moment to attempt to sabotage justice. Here's hoping the senseless murder of Helen Grace Vantz will be not be forgotten, and that neither the state nor the courts will shirk their duty.