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Texas To Execute Man Deemed Mentally Ill By State’s Judicial System

Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Death Row Inmate Adam Ward

Texas has executed roughly 30 death row inmates in Huntsville that had been diagnosed with severe mental illness, that’s according to a study provided by the group the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.  

The group’s executive director, Kristin Houle, said that is primarily because the Texas judicial system has not created a categorical exemption for inmates with mental disorders like paranoid schizophrenia.

“They have prohibited the death penalty for people with intellectual disabilities, what we used to call mental retardation, but for individuals like Adam Ward and many others who have diagnosis of severe mental illness there is no categorical exemption," Houle said.

Ward was convicted of capitol murder in 2005 after shooting to death a code compliance officer in his North Texas hometown of Commerce.  Ward’s attorney Dennis Davis said at the time of his trial, and still to this day, his client believed that the City of Commerce was out to harm him and his family.

“The police were intervening with him through his teenage years, he believed after the last time that he had been involved with them that if he was ever involved with them again, they were going to kill him, that’s the state it had reached in his mind," Davis explained.

And Davis said to this day, Ward still believes the deadly shooting was in self-defense of his life.  But despite being diagnosed with a mental disorder Ward has an IQ of 123, making him ineligible for a stay of execution by standards set by the Supreme Court.  The average IQ is around 100.

Ward is scheduled to die in Huntsville this evening.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.