Dozens of evangelical Christian leaders from Texas and across the country have petitioned Texas Gov. Rick Perry to commute the death sentence of a man they say is too severely mentally ill to understand why he is being put to death.
Scott Panetti is scheduled to be executed on Dec. 3. But his advocates say he thinks he faces the death sentence for preaching the gospel—not for the murders of his wife’s parents in 1992.
“As Christians, we are called to protect the most vulnerable, and we count Mr. Panetti—a man who has suffered from severe mental illness for over 30 years—to be among them,” the evangelical leaders wrote in a letter to the governor that was signed by more than 50 people. “If ever there was a clear case of an individual suffering from mental illness, this is it. Mr. Panetti is a paranoid schizophrenic, which was apparent at his trial, where he represented himself with his life on the line.”
At his trial, Panetti wore a cowboy outfit trimmed with purple and insisted on representing himself, which the judge allowed. He tried to call more than 200 witnesses, including the late John F. Kennedy, the pope and Jesus Christ.
“The fact that his trial was carried out in such a fashion is a mockery of the criminal justice system,” the pastors and other Christian leaders wrote.
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SOURCE: Charisma News