Over one hundred religious leaders and numerous mental health professionals have made an urgent plea to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, as well as its council, not to execute the perpetrator of multiple crimes – including murder – who was sentenced to death.
Lawyers for prisoner Andre Thomas, 39, argue that he suffers from mental illness, his mind is crowded with religious delusions and hallucinations, that he began hearing voices when he was nine and attempted suicide for the first time when he was ten.
He asked spiritual guides and psychological specialists to reduce his punishment to life imprisonment, or at least hold off on executing him until the extent of his mental wellness is determined; execution was initially scheduled for April 5th.
His lawyers say that in March 2004, when he was 21, Thomas engaged in a horrific spree of violence in his hometown of Sherman, Texas because of his mental illness, stabbing his wife Laura Christine Boren, 20, their 4-year-old son Andre Lee, and her daughter Leah. 13-month-old Mary Hughes, the two children’s hearts were broken. Thomas later said that God had commanded him to commit the killings and that he believed the three were demons.
Thomas was sentenced to death after jurors rejected his lawyer’s defense of his insanity, with prosecutors arguing that he knew his behavior was wrong and that he had aggravated his mental state with drug use.
Thomas has spent the past 15 years in the South Houston, Texas, unit for prisoners with mental illnesses.
Thomas’ legal representatives asserted that, to make certain the government would not receive his ideas, Thomas blindly gouged out both of his eyes on separate occasions. And in a harrowing twist of events—he even ate one eye afterwards.