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Lawyers: Inmate awaiting execution no longer remembers crime

Alabama asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to let the state proceed with executing a 67-year-old inmate who lawyers say has suffered strokes and dementia and cannot remember killing a police officer decades ago.

Posted: Jan 22, 2018 9:52 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to let the state proceed with executing a 67-year-old inmate who lawyers say has suffered strokes and dementia and cannot remember killing a police officer decades ago.

The Alabama attorney general's office asked justices to reject inmate Vernon Madison's request for a stay of his lethal injection set for Thursday. Madison's attorneys have asked justices to review a state court finding that he was competent to be executed.

"Vernon Madison is not insane, nor does he contend that he is insane. Yet, he seeks a stay of execution to permit the Court to review the denial of a petition ... that applies solely to a prisoner's sanity," attorneys for the state wrote. The state argued the court previously ruled the execution could proceed and Madison has presented nothing new to justify a stay.

Madison was sentenced to death for his conviction in the 1985 killing of Mobile Police Officer Julius Schulte. Schulte had responded to a domestic disturbance call involving Madison. Prosecutors have said that Madison crept up and shot Schulte in the back of the head as he sat in his police car.

Madison's lawyers say their client's health has declined during his decades on death row, adding strokes and dementia have left Madison frequently confused and unable remember his crime. They also say he is unable to understand his looming execution.

"It is undisputed that Mr. Madison suffers from vascular dementia as a result of multiple serious strokes in the last two years and no longer has a memory of the commission of the crime for which he is to be executed. His mind and body are failing," wrote attorney Bryan Stevenson, of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Stevenson argued the court should delay the execution to review whether executing someone in such a mental condition violates evolving standards of decency and a ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Courts have been divided over Madison's case.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled Madison incompetent and, in May 2016, halted Madison's execution seven hours before he was scheduled to receive a lethal injection. The U.S. Supreme Court opened the way in November for the execution to proceed. The court, in unsigned opinion, said then that testimony showed Madison "recognizes that he will be put to death as punishment for the murder he was found to have committed," even if he doesn't remember the killing itself.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 585607

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson851431591
Mobile48584864
Madison37411533
Shelby27192257
Tuscaloosa27145465
Montgomery26119627
Baldwin25207329
Lee17184181
Calhoun15382334
Morgan15147291
Etowah14928370
Marshall13079235
Houston12021293
Elmore10890219
St. Clair10737252
Limestone10699158
Cullman10503205
Lauderdale10240254
DeKalb9498192
Talladega8935188
Walker7775288
Autauga7537114
Jackson7384117
Blount7352139
Colbert6691142
Coffee6342132
Dale5605117
Russell478943
Chilton4763117
Covington4738125
Franklin456681
Tallapoosa4511156
Escambia439283
Chambers3936125
Dallas3742163
Clarke370563
Marion3455107
Pike332079
Lawrence3257100
Winston298373
Bibb289765
Geneva282883
Marengo262267
Barbour250661
Pickens245262
Butler240172
Hale235178
Fayette226765
Henry212845
Monroe201541
Randolph200344
Cherokee198848
Washington184339
Macon169752
Crenshaw167758
Clay165659
Cleburne161145
Lamar150938
Lowndes145355
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh120632
Coosa118129
Perry110328
Sumter110333
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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