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Last Update November/15/2004

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"Brother & Sister"
Inmate wants execution delayed so he can donate liver to sister Tuesday, May 17, 2005 Posted: 10:21 AM EDT (1421 GMT
MICHIGAN CITY, Indiana (AP) -- An inmate condemned to die by injection next week asked the Indiana Parole Board to grant him clemency -- or at least enough time -- to donate his liver to his ailing sister.
"My sister is sick. She needs a liver," Gregory Scott Johnson said during a hearing Monday. "At this point, everything else -- including my own life -- is secondary to trying to help her if I can." Johnson, 40, was sentenced to death for the 1985 murder of 82-year-old Ruby Hutslar. Authorities said he broke into her house, beat and stomped on her, then set a fire. His execution is scheduled for May 25. Earl Coleman, assistant for the parole board, said Johnson's attorney must still prove such a donation is necessary. "The board needs some definite evidence that his sister needs it, he's the only available donor and that he's compatible, things like that," Coleman said. Attorney Michelle Kraus said she will give the board more information during the public portion of the hearing Friday. She said she cannot determine whether Johnson and his 48-year-old sister, Deborah Otis, are compatible because the state Department of Correction refuses to take a blood sample without an order. Otis, who lives in an Anderson nursing home, does not want to speak with the media, said a woman who answered the telephone Monday at the home. Kraus has said doctors could take a piece of Johnson's liver in a "split liver" transplant, a procedure that has a recovery time of up to two months. Recipients' survival chances are much better if they receive a whole liver, said Dr. Joseph Tector of the Indiana University School of Medicine. Unlike some other experts, Tector has said the lethal injection of potassium chloride used in Indiana executions would not necessarily render the liver unusable after Johnson's death. Johnson's attorneys are also seeking clemency from the governor, arguing prosecutors did not disclose evidence that another person might have been at the murder scene. Johnson said he lied when he confessed to protect an accomplice he refused to name.

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