Judge delays execution of mentally ill Texas inmate who gouged own eyes out | Texas

A scheduled execution of a Texas death row inmate whose attorneys say gouged out both of his eyes, in separate incidents, because of severe mental illness was delayed by a judge on Tuesday.

Andre Thomas, 39, was set to be executed on 5 April, for fatally stabbing in March 2004 his estranged wife, Laura Christine Boren, 20, their four-year-old son, Andre Lee, and her 13-month-old daughter, Leyha Marie Hughes, cutting out the hearts of the children.

Thomas told police God instructed him to commit the killings and he believed all three were demons. The killings shocked Sherman, a city of about 45,000 residents 65 miles north of Dallas.

On Tuesday, a state district judge, Jim Fallon, issued an order withdrawing the execution date. The decision came after Thomas’s lawyers requested additional time to prepare for a court hearing to review his competency.

The US supreme court has prohibited the death penalty for the intellectually disabled but not for people with serious mental illness. However, it has ruled that a person must be competent to be executed.

“We are confident that when we present the evidence of Mr Thomas’s incompetence, the court will agree that executing him would violate the constitution,” Maurie Levin, Thomas’s attorney, said in a statement.

“Guiding this blind psychotic man to the gurney for execution offends our sense of humanity and serves no legitimate purpose.”

Thomas’s attorneys have said that after he gouged out his second eye, Thomas ate it, seeking to ensure that the government could not hear his thoughts.

More than 100 faith leaders and others earlier asked the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, to stop the execution.

Andre Thomas.
Andre Thomas. Photograph: Texas Department of Criminal Jus/AFP/Getty Images

J Kerye Ashmore, with the Grayson county district attorney’s office, said the faith leaders and others calling for clemency were not fully informed and had not read reports or evaluations about Thomas’s mental state.

“None of these people know anything about the case. They are parroting what the defense has told them,” Ashmore said.

Fallon’s order gives Thomas’s attorneys until 5 July to file a motion asking that the inmate’s competency be reviewed. If Fallon decides Thomas’s lawyers have presented sufficient evidence, experts will be appointed to examine him and other evidence will be reviewed before a decision.

“We’re willing to do that. We’re willing for that process to happen and let the judge make the decision. That’s all we want,” Ashmore said.

Levin called Thomas “one of the most mentally ill prisoners in Texas history … not competent to be executed, lacking a rational understanding of the state’s reason for his execution”.

Ashmore said he had reviewed records that would seem to indicate Thomas knew about his execution date and was aware he was in prison because he killed his estranged wife and her children.

( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )

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