Andre Thomas Research Paper

1126 Words 5 Pages
In 2003, Andre Thomas viciously attacked and killed his ex-wife and her two children, and was sentenced to death row. His defense argued that he was not eligible for death row because of his mental state. The court ignored the argument and passed it off, saying that they were using his illness as an excuse to “get out of” maximum punishment. As demonstrated in this case, mental illness is not given the attention it deserves when determining a sentence. Cases such as these have aroused concern how fair the criminal court is towards the mentally ill. It seems as if the justice system ignores the severity of mental health issues and only focuses on the crime that has been committed. In the case of Andre Thomas, the court has only added to this …show more content…
He was born to a mentally ill mother and lived at home along with his other mentally ill siblings. By age nine, Thomas was experiencing auditory hallucinations. He began abusing alcohol shortly after his hallucinations began in hopes of quieting the voices in his head. With his conflicted mental state, criminal behavior and run ins with the police became frequent for Thomas. Over time, his illness only grew worse; he became obsessed with dollar bills, believing that they contained a secret code for his salvation. The voices eventually became too much for him to handle, and he attempted suicide several times. Three weeks before the murders, he overdosed on cough medicine and was transferred to a mental health facility. When he regained consciousness, he begged the staff to kill him so that he would no longer be burdened by life CITATION. Somehow he was released from the hospital just hours later with no treatment or medication. To further support his insanity, while in his cell awaiting trial, Thomas gouged out his right eyeball with his bare hands; he later went on to explain that was reading his bible when he came across a verse that read, “If the right eye offends thee, pluck it out”; the voices in his head then continued to nag him until he did so CITATION. He was transferred to a mental hospital until he was deemed capable of withstanding trial. Thomas’s lawyers took his recent act of self harm to their advantage and used it …show more content…
Polunsky prison where he would serve his sentence. There he was placed in the death row unit and was locked away in a cell for 23 hours a day. After a mental assessment taken at his holding prison, it was concluded that Thomas suffered from schizophrenia CITATION. While the court believed that he was sane enough to be executed, his actions proved otherwise. After being locked away, Thomas’s illness worsened; while alone in his cell, he gouged out his other eye and and ate it. His actions should have well enough proved to the judge and jury that he is not in his right mind; no sane human being would pluck out their eye and eat it. Thomas’s lawyers took his case to the highest criminal court, and argued that since he is now blind, he is no longer a threat to the community. They also argued that his actions were clearly not of someone in a healthy mental state, and therefore, should be taken off death row and retried for a new sentence. Still, the prosecutors blamed his recent actions on his abuse of alcohol and drugs, claiming the withdrawals from substance abuse were to blame for him gouging out his eyeballs. They also rejected the argument on the conclusion that Thomas was “clearly crazy, but he is also sane under Texas law” because he was aware of what he was doing at the time of the crime

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