A mentally ill killer was executed in Texas after the state governor Rick Perry rejected a parole board’s highly unusual recommendation to commute his death sentence or delay the execution.
Kelsey Patterson, 50, also lost an appeal to the Supreme Court in the hour before he was put to death last night.
A diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, Patterson was condemned for a double killing almost 12 years ago. His lethal injection renewed the legal quandary of whether it is proper to execute someone who is mentally ill.
Strapped to the death chamber gurney in Huntsville, Patterson mumbled, “I’m not guilty of a charge of capital murder. Give me my rights. I’m acquitted of capital murder.”
He continued to ramble, saying “give me my life back” as the lethal drugs took effect. He was pronounced dead at 6.20pm (00.20am Irish time).
At least three mentally ill prisoners have been executed in Texas since the Supreme Court ruled two years ago that severely mentally retarded inmates should not be executed.
Patterson was condemned for the 1992 shootings of Dorothy Harris, 41, a secretary at an oil company office in the east Texas town of Palestine, and her boss, Louis Oates, 63.