Scott Panetti is a Texas resident who brutally murdered his in-laws. Neither his long history of schizophrenia nor a ruling in his favor by the U.S. Supreme Court seem enough to save him from death.
Panetti had been hospitalized for his psychotic reactions 12 times in six institutions over 14 years between his diagnosis and the 1992 killings.
During the trial Panetti represented himself after firing his assigned defense attorneys, whom he believed were conspiring to kill him.
It was a surprise for everyone that Panetti showed up to the trial dressed with a cowboy shirt, leather riding trousers, boots and a hat with a chin strap. The tribunal probably had the same reaction when he ordered subpoenas to make John F. Kennedy and Jesus Christ testify in his favor.
The jury deliberated for four hours and sentenced him to death. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the sentence, which was rejected by the Supreme Court. The case was sent back to the Court of Appeals, which condemned him again. Panetti will be executed on December 3rd.
Killing a schizophrenic is an aberration prohibited by the Eight Amendment to the Constitution.
There are similar cases in other states such as Tennessee, where Richard Taylor represented himself wearing sunglasses to keep out the police voices. In North Carolina, Guy LeGrande served as his own lawyer wearing a Superman shirt. All of them, just like Panetti, were sentenced to death, but unlike him the sentence was suspended due to insanity.
The fate of Panetti, who now believes that Satan is going to execute him through the State of Texas for preaching the Gospel, is practically in the hands of Governor Rick Perry.
We hope he doesn’t succumb to the same temptation as his predecessors also with presidential ambitions of ratifying questionable executions just in order to show firmness of character.
This is another of many examples why death penalty is an inadequate punishment. In this case, neither the jury nor the tribunals are putting a stop to the execution, leaving it in the hands of an ambitious politician. This has nothing to do with justice