Appeals court stays execution of mentally ill Texas man

Appeals court stays execution of mentally ill Texas man
(Image credit: AP Photo/Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

A federal appeals court on Wednesday stayed the execution of a schizophrenic man just hours before Texas was scheduled to kill him. Three judges from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Texas to halt the execution of Scott Panetti so the court could "fully consider the late arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this matter."

Panetti murdered his in-laws in 1992, though his lawyers argued he did so while suffering from delusions. (He was diagnosed with schizophrenia long before the killings, and at trial tried to subpoena Jesus.) A broad, bipartisan coalition appealed to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to halt the execution, though Perry declined to do so.

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