Tuesday, May 18, 2004

May 18, 2004

...FYI: You can execute the mentally ill, but NOT the insane or mentally retarded...

Last Meal: Patterson made no meal request, a tray of sandwiches and cookies was available to him before his execution, and he was offered and accepted a candy bar and a soft drink.

Patterson had refused to complete paperwork associated with an execution, like picking a last meal or selecting witnesses.

The skinny: Mr. Patterson was sentenced to death for two 1992 killings. Apparently angry over a dispute over whose son was a better football player, Patterson shot the owner of an oil company, while they were standing on the company's loading dock. When a secretary began screaming, Mr. Patterson shot her, too.

Afterward, he returned home, undressed and was arrested while walking naked in front of his house.

During his trial he talked frequently about being controlled by "remote control devices" and "implants."

Priors: Before his capital trial, Mr. Patterson had been ruled incompetent in two other nonfatal shooting cases – one in Dallas in 1980, the other in Palestine in 1983.

Legal Machinations: Rejecting a state board's unusual recommendation for a stay, Gov. Rick Perry allowed the execution Kelsey Patterson, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles had voted 5-1 Monday to recommend that Mr. Patterson's sentence be commuted to life or that the governor grant a 120-day reprieve. Mr. Patterson's attorneys had argued that he suffers from mental illness and should not be executed. Ninety minutes before the execution was to occur, Mr. Perry declined to intervene.

In a prepared statement, Mr. Perry said he denied commutation or a stay because none of the courts that reviewed the case found any reason Mr. Patterson should not be executed.

"Texas has no life without parole sentencing option, and no one can guarantee this defendant would never be freed to commit other crimes were his sentence commuted."

Last words and such: As the warden leaned over him and asked if he had a final statement, Mr. Patterson responded, "Statement to what? Statement to what? I'm not guilty of the charge of capital murder." Mr. Patterson continued to ramble, asking repeatedly for his rights. At one point, he said, "Go to hell." And as he was saying, "Give me my life back," the lethal drugs took effect.

Factoids: Mr. Perry's decision to reject the Pardons and Paroles Board's recommendation was only the fourth such decision in the last six years.

The U.S. Supreme Court prohibits executing the insane and the mentally retarded, but not the mentally ill. If an inmate understands why he has been sentenced to death and that he is facing execution, he is eligible for execution.

The Texas Board of Pardons used to have 18 members. It's been reduced to seven members, under a government reorganization bill last year.

Patterson was the...

25th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
910th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
9th murderer executed in Texas in 2004
322nd murderer executed in Texas since 1976