Reuters reports that, on Monday, a federal judge on Monday temporarily halted the scheduled execution of Edwin Hart Turner in Mississippi. The ruling will allow attorneys to argue whether the state has improperly kept Turner from getting a psychiatric evaluation. The state was to execute Turner tomorrow – February 8.
The argument is not that Turner is innocent. He was convicted of killing Eddie Brooks and Everett Curry in two separate incidents in Carroll County,
The argument hinges on Turner’s mental health and whether the Mississippi Department of Corrections had improperly prevented a psychiatric evaluation of Turner. The argument goes on to say that information related to his mental health had not been presented during the trial.
His attorney argues that Turner has a “long and extensive” history of mental illness. He shot himself with a rifle when he was 18. He survived but suffered disfiguring wounds to his face.
Courts have established that inmates who are insane – so out of touch with reality that they do not know right from wrong and cannot understand their punishment or the purpose of it – cannot be executed (Ford v. Wainwright ). The Supreme Court has also held that a mentally retarded individual cannot be executed (Atkins v. Virginia).
The court order postpones the execution until at least February 20.
If you live in Mississippi, you can contact the governor and ask him to halt Edwin Hart Turner’s execution.
The Hon. Phil Bryant
Governor of Mississippi
If, like me, you live elsewhere, you can sign a petition to Mississippi officials.
Calling for a halt to this execution in no way condones Turner’s acts. It does not diminish the deaths of Eddie Brooks and Everett Curry. It does not minimize the grief of those who love them.
It does say that the state – any state – should not kill – particularly someone who is mentally ill.
See you along the Trail.
- Judge temporarily blocks Mississippi execution (seattletimes.nwsource.com)