U.S. plans to carry out eighth federal execution this year in November

Under Trump, a Republican running for re-election in November, the Justice Department has already executed twice as many men this year as all of Trump’s predecessors combined going back to 1963. (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice plans to execute Orlando Hall, a convicted murderer, on Nov. 19, according to a notice filed with a federal judge overseeing challenges to the department’s lethal injection protocol.
The United States has already carried out seven executions this year after President Donald Trump’s administration revived the punishment in the summer, ending a 17-year hiatus.
Hall, 49, was a marijuana trafficker in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who in 1994, alongside accomplices, kidnapped, raped and murdered the 16-year-old sister of two Texas drug dealers he suspected had stolen money from him, according to court records.
He and three other men kidnapped Lisa Rene from the apartment she shared with her brothers in Arlington, Texas, in an act of revenge after they paid her brothe…

Texas Inmate Claims Incompetence: Marcus Druery says he's been hearing voices and echoes for years

In January 2006, a little more than 2 years after he arrived on death row, Marcus Druery began reporting that he was hearing things – "noises ... bells. ... Sometimes I feel people call me ... no one there," he told prison medical staff, according to a new court filing. He'd been hearing this stuff for nearly 2 years. Druery's execution is scheduled for Aug. 1, but his lawyers with the Texas Defend­er Ser­vice are arguing that he is too mentally ill to be executed and asking that the Brazos County court hold a competency hearing.

Druery was sentenced to die for the kidnapping, robbery, and murder with two accomplices of 20-year-old Skyyler Browne in 2002 in Brazos County. Druery is slated to be the 484th person executed in Texas since the reinstatement of capital punishment; he would be the 245th person killed under the watch of Gov. Rick Perry.

But according to the defense motion, Druery is suffering from schizophrenia. He hears people talking to him and his cell echoing; he believes he was supposed to be released from prison years ago and doesn't understand why he's being kept on death row; he believes his food is poisoned and that he and his cell are "wired" so that everyone can hear what he thinks and says. In short, say his lawyers, Katherine Black and Greg Wiercioch, Druery is not sane enough to die. Executing a person with mental illness violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment, and the Supreme Court has ruled that an inmate must have some rational understanding of why he is set for execution.

Black and Wiercoch, who were reportedly rebuked by a Brazos County judge in early July for failing to file a motion by a previous deadline, are asking for "at least" 2 independent experts to review the case, interview Druery, and submit written reports at a final competency hearing to determine whether the state may go through with his execution. An initial competency review is scheduled for July 24.

Source: Austin Chronicle, July 19, 2012

France condemns US execution of mentally handicapped man

France today condemned the execution in Texas of a convict suffering from mental disorders and repeated calls for a moratorium on the death penalty, AFP reports.

Yokamon Hearn, a 34-year-old African American, was sentenced to death at age 19 for killing a white man in a carjacking.

He died by lethal injection earlier today despite the fact that he had been diagnosed with a mental disorder developed during his childhood. On death row for 14 years, Hearn was diagnosed with mental disorders related to fetal alcohol syndrome, caused by his mother's alcohol abuse during pregnancy, and severe neglect as child. Related article here.

Source: The Standard, July 19, 2012

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