HUNTSVILLE–The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) late Monday stopped the scheduled execution of 55-year-old Randall Wayne Mays.
The court agreed with Mays’ lawyers that additional review is needed to determine if Mays is mentally competent for execution.
Eight years ago in a shootout with police, Mays killed two Henderson County deputies and wounded a third, after the deputies were called to Mays’ residence on a domestic disturbance call in Payne Springs May 17, 2007.
Investigator Paul Habelt and Deputy Tony Ogburn were the first to arrive. They were shot down the same day the county held its annual peace officer memorial.
Mays was set for lethal injection Wednesday evening in Huntsville.
Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee called the ruling “disappointing for the family and friends of Paul, Tony and Kevin, as well as the entire law enforcement community.”
The law holds that it is unconstitutional to execute a person who does not know why he is to be executed and that the execution is imminent.
“We believe that Mays is fully competent and that the people of Henderson County, through the jury in this case, issued a clear message in its verdict,” McKee said.
Although the court in Austin issued a stay, it has not overturned Judge Carter Tarrance’s Feb. 27 ruling that held Mays had not raised substantial doubt of his competency to be executed, McKee pointed out.
As the judge who handled the case over the past eight years, McKee argues that Tarrance is the most qualified to ascertain May’s competency for execution.
“We certainly hope and advocate for the CCA to uphold his ruling and allow Judge Tarrance to set another execution date,” he said.
If the CCA overturns Tarrances ruling, the court would appoint at least two independent experts to evaluate Mays for competency. After the evaluations, another hearing would then be had and Judge Tarrance would have to rule again. And of course, the CCA would review that ruling, McKee explained.
News sources reported that carrying out the execution would deplete the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s supply of pentobarbital used for lethal injections and now difficult to obtain for capital punishment.
At least four Texas executions are scheduled for April.