Texas Death Row Inmate: Execution Postponed for Competency Review

The scheduled execution of Texas death row inmate Andre Thomas, who had gouged out both his eyes due to severe mental illness, has been postponed by a judge in Texas.

Andre Thomas
This combination of undated inmate photos provided by Andre Thomas’ attorney, Maurie Levin, shows bookings photos of death row inmate Andre Thomas from Grayson County Jail, left, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, center and right. (Photo: Maurie Levin via AP)

State District Judge Jim Fallon issued an order withdrawing the execution date following a request from the Texas death row inmate’s lawyers for additional time to prepare for a court hearing to review his competency, MSN reported.

The Texas death row inmate, Andre Thomas had been set to be executed on April 5. Thomas was sentenced to death for fatally stabbing his estranged wife Laura Christine Boren, their 4-year-old son Andre Lee, and her 13-month-old daughter Leyha Marie Hughes in March 2004. He then proceeded to cut out the hearts of the two children. Thomas later claimed that God had instructed him to commit the killings, and he believed all three were demons.

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While the Supreme Court has prohibited the death penalty for intellectually disabled individuals, it has not done so for people with serious mental illnesses. However, it has ruled that a person must be competent to be executed.

Maurie Levin, his attorney, argues that he is not competent to be executed, lacking a rational understanding of the state’s reason for his execution. The attorneys of the Texas death row inmate filed a clemency plea together with faith leaders and mental health professionals.

Judge Jim Fallon’s order gives Texas death row inmate’s attorneys until July 5 to file their motion asking for his competency to be reviewed before his execution can proceed. If the judge decides that Thomas’ lawyers have presented sufficient evidence to go forward, experts will be appointed to examine him, and other evidence will be reviewed before a decision is made.

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