Bishops commend court for stay of execution of mentally ill man

Catholic bishops in Texas, USA, thanked a federal appeals court for issuing a stay of execution for a mentally ill inmate.

Scott Panetti was due to be executed just hours before the stay.

“The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops today expressed appreciation to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for granting a stay of execution for death row inmate Scott Panetti”, read a bishops’ statement.

“The Texas Bishops have long taught about the immorality of the death penalty and were particularly vocal seeking mercy for Panetti, who has been diagnosed by several doctors as suffering from severe mental illness.”

The stay, the bishops said, “means Panetti’s attorneys will have another opportunity to argue that the death penalty in his case would violate the constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

“The Texas Catholic Conference will continue to advocate for the commutation of Panetti’s sentence into institutionalization.”

Panetti was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday evening, but the fifth circuit appeals court said it needed time “to fully consider the late arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this matter.”

In September 1992, Panetti killed his in-laws Joe and Amanda Alvarado in their home in front of his estranged wife and their 3-year-old daughter. He was heavily armed and dressed in camouflage.

He had been hospitalized for mental illness more than a dozen times before the murders, and is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.

Sources:

News category: World.

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