Should Ore. inmates be allowed to donate their organs?
NEWBERG, Ore. – After being offered a kidney by a convicted killer, a Newberg man who has been campaigning for a donor said Friday he has no intention of accepting the offer.
Christian Longo was convicted in 2003 of killing his wife and three children. Their bodies were found two years earlier, left in Oregon coastal waterways.
On Wednesday Longo offered to donate a kidney to Kevin Gray, a man who grabbed national headlines for holding up a street sign that asked for a kidney donation.
At first, Gray seemed to be open to the idea but on Friday he stated he did want to be involved in what might be seen as a killer's publicity campaign.
“I am not grateful that Longo personally is offering me a kidney," Gray said. "Longo deserves no publicity from this."
Newberg dad, Kevin Gray, was diagnosed with stage five kidney failure last May. He got on a donor waiting list but he wanted to do more than just wait.
He’s been standing on the corner of Highway 99W and Brutscher Street, holding a sign saying “Living Kidney Donor Needed. Please help."
In the past Longo has stated that he wanted his organs to be donated after his execution. But a moratorium Gov. John Kitzhaber put on state executions in 2011 halted that idea.
KGW spotlighted Gray on Monday with a story on his plight. Longo was among the many who saw the report and felt compelled to try and help.
From prison Longo helped launch a non-profit organization, called G.A.V.E.: Gifts of Anatomical Value from Everyone.
“I just think it's a shame that the Kevin Grays of this world have to resort to standing on a street corner to find a kidney when there are millions of inmates and others that would like to donate but are needlessly prohibited from doing so,” Longo said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Friday Gray said he agreed with the idea of Longo's campaign but did not want to be associated with what he felt was a publicist stunt.
"Inmates should be able to donate organs," Gray said. "But they have been judge and convicted for a reason. Donating an organ is not to be done for glory. I have no intention of contacting or ever contacting any death row inmates today or ever regarding a kidney donation.”
Katherine Cook contributed to this report