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Death Row Inmate Donates Kidney To Mother

Convicted killer Steven Shelton got a chance Thursday to do something his brother could not: donate a kidney to save their mother’s life.

The brothers were both sentenced to die for beating a man to death after an 18-hour drinking binge in 1992.

Nelson Shelton, who offered to give his kidney first but was not a compatible donor, was executed in March. Steven Shelton was scheduled to die April 5, but received a stay because he has not exhausted his appeals.

For their mother, Vesta Shelton, the relief of finally getting a new kidney that can renew her life has been muted by her sorrow over one son’s death and the pending execution of another.

Steve Shelton, 29, was in fair condition Thursday at Wilmington Hospital after a four-hour operation to remove his kidney. The kidney was then taken to Thomas Jefferson University Medical Center in Philadelphia, where his mother underwent a five-hour transplant operation.

The transplant is not the first from an inmate to a relative. But it’s believed to be the first time an inmate condemned to die has donated an organ.