U.S. Supreme Court Halts Execution of Alabama Man Who Can’t Remember 1985 Crime

The U.S. Supreme Court halted the planned execution on Thursday of an Alabama man convicted of murdering a police officer in 1985 after attorneys petitioned to spare the man’s life because he suffered several strokes that left him unable to remember the crime.

Vernon Madison, 67, has spent more than three decades on death row for killing Mobile police officer Julius Schulte. “The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is granted pending the disposition of the petition for a writ of certiorari,” the Supreme Court said, without elaborating on the reason for its decision.

Alabama prison spokesman Bob Horton said the state will not execute Madison as planned because of the U.S. Supreme Court order.

In the appeal this week, Madison’s lawyers said he should not be executed because he is legally blind, cannot walk without assistance and is unable to recall the murder or understand his punishment.

“His mind and body are failing,” lawyers wrote in the petition seeking a stay.

SOURCE: Reuters, David Beasley