On Thursday night Texas will murder again...
DEXTER JOHNSON, condemned for the slaying of a couple in 2006 during a carjacking committed in Houston with four accomplices. Mr. Johnson has fought his conviction during his time on death row, filing appeals based on ineffective assistance of counsel, racial bias, intellectual disability, brain damage and his long history of schizophrenia and psychotic breaks.
On April 29, 2019, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied Mr. Johnson's request for a stay on the grounds that executing an intellectually disabled person is a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
At what point is one suffering from brain damage culpable for his bad acts? If a person's brain doesn't function normally, should that person be held accountable for his actions? It's a question, quite frankly, that the criminal (in)justice system isn't equipped to handle. As I have said in the past, a trial is not an arena to determine the truth. It is, instead, a performance of competing narratives with jurors being asked which one they accept. There is no room for the grey area of intellectual capacity.
As an aside, I know Mr. Johnson's former appellate attorney, Pat McCann. Pat is one of the finest lawyers I know. I find the allegations against him hard to believe.
Marloff, Sarah, "Death Watch: Was Dexter Johnson condemned by his own attorney?" Austin Chronicle (4/26/19)
Blakinger, Keri, "'I can't forgive till you're dead': Execution set for brain-damaged Texas man behind four killings," San Antonio Express-News (12/6/18)