Georgia Execution Stayed After Suicide Attempt

Brandon Rhode, a Georgia death row inmate, who was scheduled for execution on September 21, received a temporary stay after he attempted to commit suicide. The Georgia Supreme Court granted a stay until September 24 to allow Rhode access to counsel after he was taken to the hospital on the day of his scheduled execution. His attorney filed a motion stating that his client is incompetent, and his execution would violate standards of cruel and unusual punishment. In the court filing, Rhode's lawyers said Rhode suffered from brain impairments associated with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder because his mother was drinking alcohol and taking drugs until she found out she was pregnant well into her second trimester. The motion asserted that Rhode should not be executed because his brain damage "rendered him incapable of the requisite level of culpability required to justify execution.”

(B. Rankin, "Rhode seeks stay of execution," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 20, 2010; C. Boone, "Execution delayed for death row inmate who attempted suicide," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 21, 2010).  Other inmates in Ohio (Lawrence Reynolds), Texas (David Long), and Oklahoma (Robert Brecheen) have also attempted suicide just prior to their execution.  After various delays, they were executed.  See Executions and Time on Death Row.