A Grayson County, Texas court has withdrawn the April 5, 2023 execution date for Andre Thomas (pictured), a seriously mentally ill prisoner whose legal team requested more time to demonstrate that Thomas is incompetent to be executed. While incarcerated, Thomas gouged out his own eyes and claimed divine direction for his crimes. More than 100 religious leaders, along with other experts, had asked Gov. Greg Abbott to halt Thomas’ execution.

“The Court was right to follow the Constitution by withdrawing Andre Thomas’s execution date,” said Maurie Levin, an attorney for Thomas. “The Constitution and Texas law forbid the execution of people who are insane. Mr. Thomas is such a person, as he is not competent to be executed, lacking a rational understanding of the State’s reason for his execution…Mr. Thomas is one of the most mentally ill prisoners in Texas history, having gouged out both of his eyes and eaten one of them. He has endured a profound and lifelong mental illness … Guiding this blind psychotic man to the gurney for execution offends our sense of humanity and serves no legitimate purpose.”

On March 7, 2023, the same day that Thomas’s execution date was withdrawn, Texas executed Gary Green. Green’s attorneys had argued that he was intellectually disabled and that he had schizoaffective disorder. Arthur Brown, Jr., who is scheduled to be executed in Texas on March 9, has also raised intellectual disability claims. Brown maintains his innocence and is seeking DNA testing of evidence. Texas is considering legislation that would bar the execution of those with severe mental illness.


Juan A. Lozano, Execution delayed for death row inmate who cut out his eyes, Associated Press, March 8, 2023; Sneha Dey, Texas exe­cutes Gary Green for 2009 mur­der of his wife and her 6‑year-old daugh­ter, The Texas Tribune, March 7, 2023; Michelle Pitcher, TWO EXECUTIONS, MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH, INNOCENCE, Texas Observer, March 32023.