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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 00:21 GMT 01:21 UK
Death row liver plea turned down
Gregory Scott Johnson
Gregory Scott Johnson asked for extra time for medical tests
A US death row inmate who hoped to donate part of his liver to his sister has had his request for a last minute stay of execution turned down.

Gregory Scott Johnson, 40, is due to die by lethal injection on Wednesday.

He asked for clemency, or at least a delay, so that doctors could assess his suitability as a donor for his seriously ill sister, Debra Otis.

But Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said experts believed that Johnson was not "a medically appropriate donor".

"If his proposal had turned out to create a clear, demonstrated medical advantage to his sister, I might well have considered a brief postponement to seek a way to fulfil the request," Governor Daniels said in a statement quoted by the Indianapolis Star.

"The advice of medical experts, including Debra Otis' own specialist, was definitive that she should not pursue a procedure with Mr Johnson as donor, but rather will be better served by accepting transplanted organs through the conventional process."

'My life secondary'

Johnson was sentenced to death for killing 82-year-old Ruby Hutslar in 1985. He broke into her house, beat her to death and started a fire.

Mr Daniels said he found "no grounds to second-guess years of court rulings or to reject the recommendation of the parole board", which had recommended that the governor deny clemency or a reprieve.

"My sister is sick, she needs a liver," Johnson had pleaded. "At this point, everything else - including my own life - is secondary to trying to help her if I can."

Ms Otis, 48, was diagnosed with steatohepatitis, a type of hepatitis found in diabetics, four weeks ago, according to reports.

Johnson's lawyer said doctors had said her best chance of survival was a liver transplant, particularly if the donor was a sibling.

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