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Wednesday, September 9, 1998
Prison officials won't let death row inmate
AUSTIN (AP) - A death row inmate facing execution next month
has been blocked by Texas prison officials from donating his organs.
Convicted killer Jonathan Nobles is scheduled to die Oct. 7
for stabbing and killing two Austin women, Kelly Joan Farquhar,
24, and Mitzi Johnson Nalley, 21, after breaking into their North
Austin home in 1986.
Nobles told the Austin American-Statesman he is prepared to
die for what he did but also wants to do something positive after
"bringing so much darkness into this world." He insisted
the donation attempt is not a ploy to have his death sentence
"People out there who need organs are more than willing
to accept inmate organs," Nobles said. "There are sins
of commission as well as sins of omission, and for me not to attempt
to do whatever I can that's good is wrong of me."
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has an organ donation
policy for inmates that says the state will pay for transportation
to a Galveston hospital for the surgery and cover the costs of
guarding a prisoner.
But Larry Todd, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice, said the policy doesn't apply to death row inmates.
"Death row inmates are not allowed to donate organs,"
Todd said. "We don't let death row inmates out - end of story."
Larry Fitzgerald, another spokesman for the prison system,
said prison officials are concerned about the unpredictable nature
of both surgery and the justice system.
What if there are complications during or after surgery? What
if a death row inmate donates a kidney and has the other fail,
then receives a stay of execution?
Outside the prison walls, no one in the "organ-harvesting"
world wants to touch organs from a death row inmate because of
fear of passing on disease, ethical concerns about taking organs
from condemned inmates and the fear of public backlash.
The Centers for Disease Control consider inmates a high risk
for hepatitis, the AIDS virus and other communicable diseases.
Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan doctor who has helped people commit
suicide, tried to arrange the donation of one of Nobles' kidneys,
and found a surgeon to perform the transplant. But Nobles and
the woman were not a blood-type match, and she died without getting
The woman's sister, Crystal Webb, said Nobles "brought
death to two women. The least he can do is give life to somebody
"I mean, they're putting these men to death anyway,"
Webb said. "Why can't they put them to sleep and take their
Paula Kurland, the mother of Mitzi Nalley, spoke out against
the kidney transplant.
She said Nobles lost his rights, including the right to donate
organs, when he murdered her daughter.
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