Texas to execute Scott Panetti Wednesday despite mental illness

Court-appointed stand-by attorney talks about trial

KERRVILLE, Texas – In 1992, Scott Panetti shot and killed his mother and father-in-law. He was then convicted of capital murder in Kerrville and sentenced to death in 1995.

Prior to his trial, Panetti asked for and was granted permission to act as his own attorney.

Scott Monroe, who is now the Kerr County District Attorney for the 198th District, was appointed as Panetti's stand-by counsel.

"I think that most people would start off by saying that guy's got to be crazy to do that, and in this case there was a lot of truth to that," Monroe said Monday.

He said that the evidence supported that.

"Scott (Panetti) had a documented history of mental illness," Monroe said. "There was never any doubt ever that Scott (Panetti) was mentally ill."

That is where the controversy surrounding Panetti's execution is centered.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed an appeal based on Panetti's mental condition last week. But death penalty opponents insist his mental condition should prevent his execution.

Panetti's attorneys requested his execution date postponed so that he can undergo further psychological testing to determine if he's competent to be put to death.

They believe his case raises questions about the legality of executing the mentally ill — an issue the U.S. Supreme Court has previously considered.

Panetti is scheduled to be executed in Huntsville on Wednesday.

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