death penalty execution mental illness Tarrant County Texas

State of Texas scheduled to execute James Bigby

Tonight, March 14, 2017,  the State of Texas is scheduled to execute James Bigby for the 1987 murders of Michael R. Trekell and Jayson Kehler in Tarrant County. According to his attorney, John Stickels, Bigby has no appeals pending.

In 2005, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Bigby’s death sentence after finding that the jury in his original trial did not give appropriate consideration to mitigating evidence. Although his defense attorneys presented witnesses who testified that Bigby was a paranoid schizophrenic, he was resentenced to death in 2006. At least 30 individuals with documented histories of paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other persistent and severe mental illnesses have been executed by the State of Texas. Many had sought treatment before the commission of their crimes, but were denied long-term care.

Read more about his case from the Texas Tribune and the Associated Press.

There currently are five other executions scheduled to take place in Texas through July, including two other cases from Tarrant County. If James Bigby is executed, this will be Tarrant County’s second execution this year. Tarrant County is the fourth highest executing county in Texas and accounts for 39 executions and 74 death sentences.