HOUSTON – A federal appeals court says it won’t consider whether a Texas death row inmate who removed his only eye and ate it in an outburst several years ago is too mentally ill to be executed, but will consider other questions in an appeal of his conviction for killing his estranged wife’s 13-month-old daughter.
In the same 2004 attack, Thomas’ estranged wife and their 4-year-old son were also murdered.
According to Dallas Morning News, all of the victims were stabbed and “had their hearts ripped out.”
A 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel says the issue of whether executing the severely mentally ill is unconstitutional is “foreclosed.” The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled mentally disabled people are ineligible for execution. That prohibition does not include the mentally ill.
The three-judge panel heard arguments Tuesday in 35-year-old Andre Thomas’ appeal.
The judges said Thursday they would examine claims that Thomas’ trial lawyers were deficient and his jury was racially biased.