TEXAS (USA): ADAM WARD EXECUTED
March 22, 2016: Adam Ward was executed. He was given a lethal dose of pentobarbital and as it took effect, he took a deep breath followed by a smaller one. He then stopped moving. He was pronounced dead at 6:34 p.m. CDT - 12 minutes after the drug started to flow into him.
Ward, 33, White, was given a lethal injection for shooting and killing Michael Walker, a code enforcement officer who was taking photos of junk piled outside the Ward family home June 13, 2005.
Ward had said the shooting was in self-defense, but the 44-year-old Walker only had a camera and a cellphone. Evidence of Ward's delusions, paranoia and bipolar disorder was presented at his 2007 trial.
Ward's attorneys, both at his trial and later for his appeals, described him as delusional and mentally ill.
Hours before his execution, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal that argued his mental illness should have disqualified him from the death penalty. In their appeal to the Supreme Court, Ward's attorneys argued the high court's ban on executing mentally impaired prisoners should be extended to include inmates like Ward who have a severe mental illness and that putting him to death would be unconstitutional because of evolving sentiment against executing the mentally ill. The justices have ruled mentally impaired people, generally those with an IQ below 70, may not be executed. However, the court has said mentally ill prisoners may be executed if they understand they are about to be put to death and why they face the punishment.
State attorneys, who said evidence showed Ward's IQ as high as 123, said the late appeal did not raise a new issue, meaning it was improper and without merit.
Ward becomes the 5th inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, the 536th overall since Texas resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982, the 9th this year in the USA and the 1431st overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. (Sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin, 22/03/2016)