He had a history of mental illness and paranoid schizophrenia predating his crime, yet his family could not afford hospitalization for his illness.Moreover, he believed he was Jesus Christ, and believed he was being killed because he was Jesus Christ.A person with schizophrenia does not have a “split personality”, and almost all people with schizophrenia are not dangerous or violent towards others when they are receiving treatment.The World Health Organization has identified schizophrenia as one of the 10 most debilitating diseases affecting humans.Billy Irick’s execution has been stayed – but not because of Irick’s mental state. Originally, he was scheduled to die on October 16, 2013, but the execution was stayed due to concern over Hatten’s sanity and to allow time to determine his mental competency.In Tennessee, Irick and 10 other death row inmates have filed a lawsuit challenging the secrecy of the state’s lethal injection laws, and the legality of the use of the electric chair as a backup if lethal injection drugs cannot be obtained. His new execution date is set for October 15, 2014 after Hatten told his lawyer to drop all appeals and speed up the execution date (something that often occurs with mentally ill patients).
A trial judge even came to the conclusion that Provenzano believed he faced execution because he was Jesus.
The court found that the Eighth Amendment should be interpreted with “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society”.
In , the Supreme Court reaffirmed that an individual cannot be executed if he is incompetent at the time of his execution, arguing that a defendant must have a “rational understanding of the reason for the execution”.
“Today, at 6pm, the State of Florida is scheduled to kill my brother, Thomas Provenzano, despite clear evidence that he is mentally ill.... ” Thomas Provenzano was executed by lethal injection by the state of Florida on June 21, 2000.
But I have to wonder: Where is the justice in killing a sick human being?