Texas Catholics ask Texas governor to stop exeuction of mentally ill prisoner

Updated 11 a.m. central time: The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has halted the execution of a Texas death row inmate with a history of schizophrenia, just hours before he was to be put to death in Huntsville. Read more: Federal Appeals Court Issues Stay For Panetti

The National Catholic Register reports that Texas Catholics are asking Texas Gov. Rick Perry to stay the execution of a mentally ill prisoner. Convicted murderer Scott Louis Panetti is scheduled to die tonight by lethal injection.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Catholic Conference has called on Gov. Rick Perry to stay the execution of mentally ill death row inmate Scott Louis Panetti, saying his execution is “not merely unjust, but immoral.”

“Mr. Panetti’s lengthy history of mental illness, his delusional behavior while defending himself at trial in 1995 and the multiple diagnoses from mental-health professionals confirming his severe mental illness provide even more reason to stop his execution,” the conference said in a Nov. 21 letter to the Texas governor, who is a Republican.

“Putting to death anyone whose faculties are so severely debilitated by mental illness as to not comprehend nor be responsible for his actions is not merely unjust, but immoral,” the conference continued, adding that the Church opposes the death penalty as “a desecration of human life.”

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