Support Local Journalism, Join the SA Current Press Club.

Appeals Court Stops Texas from Killing Mentally Ill Inmate 

click image A federal appeals court stayed Scott Panetti's execution hours before the convicted killer, who is mentally ill, was  scheduled for lethal injection. - ACLU
  • ACLU
  • A federal appeals court stayed Scott Panetti's execution hours before the convicted killer, who is mentally ill, was scheduled for lethal injection.


A mentally ill Texas inmate who shot and killed his in-laws in 1992 won't be executed today.



Scott Panetti, a diagnosed schizophrenic, believes he is being executed for preaching the gospel, not for the brutal murder he committed in front of his estranged wife and child years ago.

"We STAY the execution pending further order of the court to allow us to fully consider the late arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this matter," the federal appeal's court order states.

Panetti's lawyers argue the man is mentally ill and the law requires the court to provide funding for access to an investigator and mental health expert to assist in his case.

"He asks this Court to stay his execution, currently scheduled for December 3, 2014, and remand the case with instructions to the district court to appoint counsel and authorize funding. In the alternative, the Court should issue a stay of execution in the interest of justice so that the Court can give the important and complex issues in this case the thoughtful deliberation they deserve," a December 1 brief states.

The stay was granted only eight hours before Panetti was scheduled for lethal injection.

"His lawyers argued that he was too mentally ill to qualify for capital punishment, and they sought the delay so Panetti could undergo new competency tests. They noted that he acted as his own attorney during trial—dressed in a purple cowboy outfit—and tried to subpoena more than 200 witnesses, including the pope and Jesus Christ," the Associated Press reported.

There is widespread support that Panetti shouldn't be executed due to his mental illnesses.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation