Two separate incidents of gouging out his eyes have been offered as a reason to stay the execution of a Texas man who was convicted of multiple murders.
State District Judge Jim Fallon on Tuesday ordered a delay of the scheduled April 5 execution of Andre Thomas, according to the Associated Press.
Attorneys sought the delay to prepare for a competency hearing for Thomas.
“We are confident that when we present the evidence of Mr. Thomas’s incompetence, the court will agree that executing him would violate the Constitution,” wrote Maurie Levin, Thomas’ attorney. “Guiding this blind psychotic man to the gurney for execution offends our sense of humanity and serves no legitimate purpose.”
Andre Thomas had been set to be executed on April 5, sentenced to death for fatally stabbing in March 2004 his estranged wife Laura Christine Boren, 20, their 4-year-old son Andre Lee and her 13-month-old daughter Leyha Marie Hugheshttps://t.co/z3FH6qGID3
— NBC 15 News (@mynbc15) March 9, 2023
According to AP, intellectually disabled people cannot be executed, but those with mental illness can be executed, provided they are ruled competent.
Thomas was found guilty of stabbing his estranged wife to death in 2004. In addition to killing Laura Christine Boren, 20, he killed their son, Andre Lee, who was 4, and their daughter, Leyha Marie Hughes, who was 13 months old. At the time, he told police he was instructed by God to kill them because his victims were demons.
In 2004, shortly after his arrest, Thomas gouged out one of his eyes, according to Texas Monthly.
Then in 2009, he gouged out the other eye and told authorities he ate it. His attorneys have said the reason he gave for doing that was to prevent the government from hearing his thoughts, according to AP.
The attorneys for Thomas now have until July 5 to file arguments concerning whether Thomas is competent to be executed. If the judge finds those persuasive, it could set in motion an examination of Thomas by experts and a review of his execution.
J. Kerye Ashmore of the Grayson County District Attorney’s Office said the office respects the process.
“We’re willing for that process to happen and let the judge make the decision. That’s all we want,” Ashmore said.
Levin claimed Thomas was “one of the most mentally ill prisoners in Texas history,” adding that “he is not competent to be executed, lacking a rational understanding of the state’s reason for his execution.”
Ashmore said there is more to the case than Thomas.
“I think it’s important to remember the brutality of these murders,” Ashmore said, according to KXII-TV.
“He was anxious about the U.S. Supreme Court, whether they were going to hear his case,” Ashmore said. “He’s indicated that he knows his execution date is in April. He’s also indicated that if the Supreme Court decided to execute him, he would stop taking his medication. These types of things that we’ve been able to find out indicate to me that he’s competent to be executed.”
Ashmore said if Thomas is not executed, he could eventually be free.
“In the event that his sentence is commuted, he will be eligible for parole in 20 years basically when he’s 60, 61 years old. We’re here to see to it that the justice, as determined by a jury, as affirmed by all of the courts, that is carried out,” Ashmore said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.