Two separate incidents of gouging out his eyes have been cited as justification for postponing the execution of a Texas man convicted of multiple murders.
According to the Associated Press, State District Judge Jim Fallon ordered a stay of execution for Andre Thomas on Tuesday.
Attorneys requested the delay in order to prepare for Thomas’ competency hearing.
“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, people with intellectual disabilities cannot be executed, but those with mental illnesses can be executed if deemed competent.
In 2004, Thomas was found guilty of fatally stabbing his estranged wife. In addition to killing Laura Christine Boren, 20, he also killed their four-year-old son, Andre Lee, and their 13-month-old daughter, Leyha Marie Hughes. He told police at the time that he was instructed by God to kill them because his victims were demons.
According to Texas Monthly, Thomas gouged out one of his eyes shortly after his arrest in 2004.
He then gouged out the other eye and told authorities he ate it in 2009. According to the Associated Press, his attorneys stated that he did so to prevent the government from hearing his thoughts.
Thomas’ attorneys now have until July 5 to file arguments about whether Thomas is competent to be executed. If the judge finds them convincing, he or she may order an expert examination of Thomas and a review of his execution.
Grayson County District Attorney J. Kerye Ashmore stated that 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.