A schizophrenic who gouged out his eyes is on Texas death row

86b5mf A schizophrenic who gouged out his eyes is on Texas death row

In December 2008, Andre Thomas pulled out and ate his left eyeball. He had gauged out the right eye in 2004, having taken a bible passage literally, six days after he brutally murdered his estranged wife, their young son and her 13-month-old daughter. His attorney Maurie Levin, who is co-director of Texas’ Capital Punishment Clinic, told Salon that her client is “transparently and flawedly” mentally ill. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic while in prison, having heard voices in his head since childhood. What sort of system sentences Andre Thomas to death?Texas Tribune managing editor Brandi Grissom has followed Thomas’ case closely. As she noted in an excellent feature for theTexas Monthly, “as he awaits execution, Andre and his tragic case force uncomfortable questions about the intersection of mental illness and the criminal justice system.” Thomas is certainly not the only death row inmate to have been diagnosed with mental illness; more than 20 percent of the 290 inmates on Texas’ death row are considered mentally ill, as Grissom noted. But the extremity of his situation has prompted fervid responses locally and nationally. “It’s astonishing, just how many problems in the legal system [this case] exemplifies,” said Levin in a phone interview.Continue Reading…

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A schizophrenic who gouged out his eyes is on Texas death row

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