UPCOMING EXECUTION: Judge Denies Psychiatric Evaluation for Schizophrenic Death Row Inmate

On July 24, a Texas county judge declined to order a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether Marcus Druery is competent to be executed on August 1. Earlier this month, Druery’s attorneys requested a full investigation of his mental status, arguing he hears voices, believes he is being poisoned with feces-spiked food, and lacks the understanding of his legal situation required under the constitution for execution. Reports by mental health officials at the University of Texas show that Druery experienced ongoing mental health problems and is schizophrenic. Prison medical records also show Druery was prescribed anti-psychotic medications and his mental status has fluctuated during his years on death row. Kate Black, one of Druery’s attorneys, said that standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Panetti vs. Quarterman require an inmate facing execution to have a “rational understanding” of his crime and punishment. In 2011, Druery claimed to be attacked by guards and prisoners, saying, “They refused to unwire me from speakers. I was hooked up to speaker system. I do not know who did it when, where or why. I thought I was supposed to go back out to the world.” Druery was sentenced to death for a robbery-murder that occurred in 2002. UPDATE: Execution stayed.

(A. Turner, “Killer called schizophrenic, but judge says execution can proceed,” Houston Chronicle, July 24, 2012). See Mental Illness. Listen to DPIC’s podcast on Mental Illness. For more information on this case, see Amnesty International’s summary.