Life can change in the twinkling of an eye – or at least very quickly some times.
On Monday, an attorney representing Edward Hart Turner had persuaded a U.S. District Court to block, temporarily, Turner’s execution. The argument did not dispute Turner’s guilt. Rather it focused on a Department of Corrections policy that apparently prevented Turner from getting tests about his mental health at the time of killings.
It appeared that the Mississippi would step back and determine if Turner was mentally ill before it decided if it would take his life.
Today things changed. Quickly. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the stay. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to stay the execution. The Governor of Mississippi refused a reprieve.
And Turner received a lethal injection this evening – 8 February 2012 – as scheduled.
Nothing can defend the brutal murders of Eddie Brooks and Everett Curry.
However, nothing can justify execution by the state of someone whose mental health, and ability to understand what they are doing, is in question.
See you along the Trail.
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.
According to the ACLU:
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.