Hopes of reprieve for mentally ill killer due to be executed

A paraonid schizophrenic due to be executed later today in Texas was last night given hope of a last-minute reprieve when an influential advisory board recommended that the Governor of the state commute the sentence.

A paraonid schizophrenic due to be executed later today in Texas was last night given hope of a last-minute reprieve when an influential advisory board recommended that the Governor of the state commute the sentence.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted yesterday evening to recommend advising Rick Perry that instead of going ahead with the execution of Kelsey Patterson, he commute his sentence to one of life imprisonment.

Mr Patterson's lawyer, Gary Hart, had made his appeal on the grounds that his client was mentally unfit. The 50-year-old believes that microchips have been planted inside his head to control him.

Mr Hart said last night that Mr Perry was not bound to follow the recommendation, but added: "It's looking better."

In his clemency petition, sent to the board and Mr Perry, Mr Hart argued: "There are compelling reasons for not executing capital offenders who suffer debilitating mental illnesses that are similar to the reasons society will no longer tolerate the execution of the mentally retarded. Execution of someone such as Kelsey, whose paranoid schizophrenia is severe and chronic, serves neither the retributive nor the deterrent functions the death penalty was intended for."

No one disputes that Patterson is guilty of shooting to death two people in Palestine, east Texas, in September 1992. Courts have heard how Patterson left his home armed with a .38-calibre pistol, walked a few hundred yards to an oil company office and shot dead the owner, Louis Oates. Mr Oates's secretary, Dorothy Harris, was also shot and killed.

Patterson went home and took off his clothes. When arrested by police he was walking in front of his house, naked but for his socks.

In a recent petition to the US Supreme Court, Mr Hart argued that Patterson had been expelled from his trial because of outbursts "almost certainly fuelled by his delusional system".

In addition to missing half of the testimony against him, Mr Hart said that Patterson had refused to co-operate with him for the past several years because his client does not believe he is qualified to deal with "hell law", an invention of the prisoner.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal. In a 2002 ruling on a Virginia case it barred the execution of mentally retarded people, but the same prohibition has not been extended to the mentally ill. Over the past two years, at least a half a dozen prisoners claiming mental illness have been put to death in Texas.

Mrs Harris's family does not believe Patterson should receive clemency. Michele Smith, the only child of Mrs Harris, is today planning to travel to Huntsville to witness Patterson's execution.

Ms Smith, who was 20 at the time of her mother's murder, told the Herald-Press newspaper in Palestine: "I don't know how I'll deal with things if next Tuesday doesn't go as planned. After waiting for 12 years and you get this close, it's hard to have another disappointment."

Ms Smith said that she hoped watching the execution would bring the pain associated with her mother's death to an end. "For you to actually heal from something, it has to be completely over," she said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
football
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas