Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stays execution of Randall Mays

On May 7, 2020, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) granted a stay of execution to Randall Mays and remanded his intellectual disability claim to the trial court for a review on the merits. Mays was set to be put to death on May 13, 2020. It was the third execution date he has faced since 2015.

Mays is the fifth person to receive a stay from the CCA since mid-March but the first to do so on the basis of a substantive claim raised with the court. The four other stays were related to the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked on the judicial system.

Mays was convicted of the fatal shootings of Sheriff Deputies Paul Habelt and Tony Ogburn on his property in Henderson County in May 2007 in an incident that arose after a neighbor called the police about a disturbance.  He previously faced execution on March 18, 2015 but received a stay from the CCA after the court agreed with Mays’s lawyers that mental-health assessments were needed to determine if Mays was competent to be executed. He had been previously committed to state mental hospitals and diagnosed pre-trial with an organic brain disorder. Under U.S. Supreme Court law, in order to be found “competent to be executed,” a person must have a rational understanding of why he is to be executed, not simply know that he is to be executed because he was convicted of a crime.  

Mays also had an execution date of October 16, 2019, which was halted after a trial court judge granted a motion to withdraw the date so that he had “time to properly review all medical records submitted.”

Additional background information is available from the Texas Tribune: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/10/04/henderson-county-randall-mays-execution-judge/.