death penalty Houston Chronicle incompetency Marcus Druery severe mental illness Stay of execution Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals

Houston Chronicle Lauds Druery Stay of Execution

A new editorial published by the Houston Chronicle (“Texas execution stay a wise move,” July 30, 2012) praises last week’s decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to stay the execution of Marcus Druery, noting that “The alternative, to execute a human being who may not even understand why he is being executed, would be barbaric.”

Druery was scheduled to be executed tomorrow, August 1, for the 2002 murder of Skyyler Browne, even though serious and disturbing questions surround his mental competency.   The CCA granted the stay in order to review his attorneys’ request for a full and fair competency hearing.

The editorial notes that the state does not dispute that Druery suffers from a psychotic disorder and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia but still contends that he is competent to be executed and has fought against a competency hearing. Here’s an excerpt from the Chronicle:

We applaud the court’s decision, as far as it goes. We fervently hope that their review will persuade the justices to remand the case back to the Brazos County court for a competency hearing. Execution is irrevocable, and should never be invoked as long as a shred of doubt exists as to its constitutionality in any given case.

Read the full editorial.  Additional coverage of the case appears today in “(“Marcus Druery: Another questionable Texas execution,” July 31, 2012).