The U.S. Supreme Court found in 1986 that executions of the insane are unconstitutional. In a concurring opinion, Justice Lewis Powell concluded that "the Eighth Amendment forbids the execution only of those who are unaware of the punishment they are about to suffer and why they are to suffer it."
Sitting in death row is Percy Walton guilty in 1997 to the murders of Jessie and Elizabeth Kendrick, a couple in their 80s, and 33-year-old Archie Moore , robbed and shot in the head; Moore's body was found stuffed in a closet, his corpse doused in cologne. At trial, the prosecutor called Walton "a sadistic, ruthless and cold-blooded murderer who has no conscience."
He was scheduled to die on Friday, but Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Monday postponed his execution. It was the second time the governor has temporarily halted Walton's execution. In June, Kaine issued a six-month delay to allow for an independent evaluation of Walton's mental condition. The results of that evaluation prompted the governor to delay Walton's execution an additional 18 months, until June 10, 2008, for "continued observation" of his mental state.
Walton "is severely mentally impaired and meets the Supreme Court's definition of mental incompetence," Kaine said. "At the same time, it is within the realm of possibility -- though unlikely -- that Walton's mental impairment is not permanent."
"Percy was and remains deeply schizophrenic and mentally retarded," said Walton's attorney, Nash Bilisoly. "He still has no concept as to the fact that he's going to die or why and, in our view, it makes no sense to execute someone in that condition."
One prison psychiatrist testified that Walton was "floridly psychotic."
In letters to The Associated Press, several of Walton's fellow death row inmates said his behavior is consistently bizarre, describing him as "nuttier than a fruitcake," "crazy as a bed bug," and "a walking talking cuckoo bird." His prison nickname is "Crazy Horse."
Inmate William Van Poyck, who has been on the row with Walton for seven years, said Walton is unable to engage in any meaningful conversation, responding to most questions with a monotone "yeah" or "no."
"I've served approximately 34 years in adult prisons, which is to say I've got a lot of experience being around truly insane men, and Percy ranks right at the top of crazy guys I've encountered," wrote Van Poyck, a Florida death row inmate being held in Virginia.
The Kendricks' daughter, Barbara Case, said she is unsure about Walton's current mental state...but
"If something happens December 8th and (Walton) doesn't die, it's not going to bother me one bit," Case said. "Because you know what? I really think the worse punishment ... is for him to be locked up the rest of his life."
So who is the execution for ?? Who is it to satisfy ??