Texas death row inmate Andre Thomas, 39, is scheduled for execution on April 5, 2023.
Thomas was sentenced to death after he fatally stabbed his estranged wife, 20-year-old Laura Christine Boren, their 4-year-old son, Andre Lee, and Boren’s 13-month-old daughter, Leyha Marie Hughes. He did so in a burst of violence that he claims was driven by religious delusions and auditory hallucinations.
Thomas’ lawyers say that he was plagued by mental illness and had a long history of hearing voices and attempting suicide, but that his impoverished family was unable to provide him with the help he needed.
Prosecutors argued that Thomas knew that his conduct was wrong and had exacerbated his mental condition with drug use. He was sentenced to death for killing the little girl. This sentencing took place after jurors rejected his insanity defense.
Thomas has spent the last 15 years in a unit for Texas’ most mentally ill prisoners, where he is heavily medicated and now blind.
On two separate occasions since the killings, he has gouged out his own eyes. He even ate one of them, according to his attorneys. Allegedly, he thought that doing so would prevent the government from hearing his thoughts.
Thomas’ attorneys argue that he is not competent for his scheduled execution and will never be so. Over 100 faith leaders and dozens of mental health professionals have joined his legal team in asking Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant Thomas clemency or a reprieve, so the courts can determine his competency for execution.
If Thomas’ execution goes ahead, it would be the fourth in Texas in 2023, following the executions of John Falk Jr., George Beattie, and Joseph Castro. It would also mark the 11th execution in the United States this year.