The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Indiana Death Row Inmate Asks to Donate Liver to Sister

by Dave Reynolds

May 18, 2005 – An inmate scheduled for execution on May 25 wants for his final living act to be the gift of his liver to his sister, whose own liver has advanced cirrhosis.

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Gregory Scott Johnson, 40, spoke to members of Indiana's Parole Board Monday, asking that he either be granted clemency or be kept alive long enough for surgeons to determine whether his liver would be compatible with his sister, Debbie Otis, 48.

"At this point, everything else, including my own life, is secondary to trying to help her, if I can," he reportedly told the panel, which meets again to make its determination on Friday.

Johnson was sentenced to a state execution as punishment for killing an 82-year-old woman in 1985.

Johnson's attorney wants Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to commute his client's sentence or order blood tests to determine whether or not Johnson carries hepatitis C or the same liver disease as his sister. Medical experts disagree on how desperately Otis needs a liver transplant and on whether the chemicals used in the lethal injection process would contaminate Johnson's liver, making it useless.

Family members told the Indianapolis Star that Johnson offered to donate a kidney to his stepfather two-and-a-half years ago.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Dave Reynolds is a contributing journalist.

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