The Guardian reports, "Texas sets execution date for mentally ill killer Scott Panetti," by Tom Dart.
Texas is preparing to execute a mentally ill man who dressed as a cowboy at his trial and attempted to subpoena Jesus Christ, John F Kennedy and the Pope.
On Wednesday, a day after Miguel Paredes became the 10th – and at the time it was thought final – Texas prisoner to be put to death this year, the state gave Scott Panetti an execution date of 3 December. The 56-year-old shot his parents-in-law to death in 1992 in front of his estranged wife and their three-year-old daughter.
Long and complex legal battles have taken place since he was convicted in 1995 as a succession of courts have ruled Panetti is competent to be executed even though there is no question that he is mentally ill and suffers from paranoid delusions.
A schizophrenic man who had been hospitalised 14 times before the murders of Joe and Amanda Alvarado in the Texas Hill Country, he insisted he represent himself at trial, where his only defence was insanity. He said that during the crime he was under the control of a hallucination he called “Sarge”. He wore a purple cowboy suit, rambled incoherently, fell asleep and made a threatening gesture at the jury. Court documents show his standby attorney described Panetti as “bizarre”, “scary” and “trance-like” and that the trial was a “judicial farce”.
"Lethal injection date set for Scott Panetti," is by Meg Kissinger of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has covered the case for years.
Scott Panetti, a Hayward native whose death row case drew national attention around the issue of protecting the rights of mentally ill defendants, has been scheduled to die by lethal injection Dec. 3 in Texas.
Panetti, 56, has won stays of execution before. He was a day from being executed in 2004 when that order was stopped. The new execution date was made public Thursday.
In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Panetti's death sentence for the murder of his wife's parents 15 years earlier. The court found that Panetti had insufficient understanding of why he was being put to death. Panetti said he believed he was being executed not for the killings but for preaching the Gospel to his fellow death row inmates.
The 5-4 ruling was considered a rebuke of the lower court's decision, but it stopped short of establishing a new standard for competency.
The Supreme Court established standards to assess whether severely mentally ill inmates are competent to be executed in a 1986 case, Ford v. Wainwright; more via Oyez. The Court revisited the ruling in 2007 in Panetti v. Quarterman is via Oyez.