AP's Michael Graczyk reports, "Court to examine Texas killer who wants to die," via the Houston Chronicle.
Danielle Simpson, 29, has told the courts he's tired of being locked up and if he can't be free he wants to die.
Simpson was condemned for the January 2000 slaying of Geraldine Davidson, a former Palestine school teacher and church organist.
Davidson was abducted from her home during a burglary, was bound and gagged, driven around in the trunk of her car and then beaten and dumped into the Neches River. She was wrapped in duct tape and had cinder blocks tied to her ankles.
A passing motorist spotted her body floating in the river.
The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a ruling Monday, sent Simpson's request to a federal district judge for a hearing to examine whether Simpson is competent to abandon his appeals and if his request is voluntary.
The appeals court judges said Simpson last month sent them a handwritten motion in which he said he was "tired of being in a institution that's unjust, degrading, and corrupted."
The court said he wrote: "Whereas on the other hand, I'm tired of struggling to survive in a system that's highly injustices. 'I'm ready to die'!! If I can't be free — 'Kill Me'.!!"
The "Kill Me" phrase was underlined twice.
Simpson was one of four Palestine residents convicted in the slaying.
His brother, Lionelle, 15 at the time, received a life prison term. His wife, Jennifer, then 17, pleaded guilty and accepted a 40-year sentence. Both were certified for trial as adults but were ineligible for the death penalty because of their age.
The fourth defendant, a cousin who was 13 at the time of the killing, was sent to the Texas Youth Commission, then was released under adult parole supervision after he turned 21 in 2007 to serve the remainder of a 13-year sentence.
In earlier appeals, Danielle Simpson raised claims he was mentally retarded and ineligible for the death penalty. A district court ruled he was not mentally retarded.
The Fifth Circuit's opinion is here.