execution severe mental illness

State of Texas scheduled to execute Derrick Charles

Barring intervention by the courts, Derrick Charles is scheduled to be put to death by the State of Texas tomorrow, Tuesday,  May 12, 2015. He was convicted of killing his 15-year-old girlfriend, Myiesha Bennett, her mother Brenda Bennett, and her grandfather, Obie Lee Bennett in 2002 in Harris County.

Charles was 19 years old at the time.  According to his attorneys with the Texas Defender Service (TDS), he has suffered from symptoms of severe mental illness throughout his life. Here are excerpts from a press release issued today by TDS:

Despite the extensive history of Mr. Charles’ severe mental illness and mental impairments, Texas state and federal courts have refused to authorize the resources Mr. Charles needs to undergo a complete neuropsychological evaluation designed to determine whether he is competent to be executed. Three psychologists have recommended, one as recent as March of this year, that Mr. Charles undergo such an evaluation. Mr. Charles has been deprived of his right to needed resources and time to determine if he is incompetent to be executed. …

Attorneys for Mr. Charles have filed two petitions for certiorari review in the Supreme Court of the United States, urging the Court to provide Mr. Charles’ legal team with both the time and resources to establish that the State of Texas’ execution is contrary to the United States Constitution.

Read more from TDS and from the Austin Chronicle.