MENTAL ILLNESS: Still Another Execution Scheduled Despite Serious Mental Health Concerns

Marcus Druery (pictured) is facing execution in Texas on August 1 even though he has shown clear signs of mental incompetence. The Texas Defender Service recently filed a motion to delay his execution, citing the findings of a psychologist who examined Druery earlier this year: “His delusional ideas so pervade his understanding of his case that he no longer understands that it was him who committed the crime, and that he’s the one who has to suffer the punishment.” Another assessment of his mental capacities revealed that he does not adquately understand why he is being punished: “Because of his inflexible, psychotic and delusional interpretation of his circumstances, Mr. Druery does not have the capacity to rationally understand the connection between his crime and his punishment.” The state has acknowledged that Druery suffers from delusions, schizophrenia, “thought broadcasting” and auditory hallucinations. However, officials have yet to determine whether his medical condition meets the legal definition of insanity. Kate Black, one of his attorneys, said, “When you have an individual who is so psychotic that he no longer has an understanding of what it is he’s being punished for, that lacks the purpose for which the death penalty was created. The state’s own experts have diagnosed him as having paranoid and disorganized schizophrenia. He’s been housed in the psychiatric unit. So, they’re well aware of his irrationality, and yet have still sought an execution date in this case.” On July 24, a preliminary hearing will be held to determine whether a full competency investigation is needed. UPDATE: On July 24, the county court denied a full competency investigation, but did not rule on Druery’s competency to be executed.

On July 18, Texas is planning to execute Yokamon Hearn, who suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and brain damage. UPDATE: Execution carried out.

(P. Malof, “Court Questions Constitutionality of Upcoming Texas Execution,” Public News Service, July 16, 2012; M. Kiely, “Lawyers argue Druery unfit for execution,” Bryan-College Station Eagle, July 14, 2012). See Mental Illness. Listen to DPIC’s podcast on Mental Illness.