Florida has executed a schizophrenic man who believed that he was the immortal prince of God vested with superhuman powers including an ability to control the sun, despite the US constitution’s prohibition against putting mentally ill people to death.
John Ferguson, 65, was killed by lethal injection at 6pm on Monday. Earlier in the evening the US supreme court declined to hear a final petition from his lawyers. Although there was overwhelming evidence that the court’s own interpretation of the US constitution was being disregarded, the justices gave no explanation for their decision to remain on the sidelines and allow the killing to go ahead.
Many SFB readers took a moment to note their support of Ferguson’s execution when we posted the story yesterday afternoon. Anybody think Florida shouldn’t have been allowed to go forward with the execution and/or that the U.S. Supreme Court should have weighed-in on the case?
18:40 // 8 months ago
Florida is preparing to execute a schizophrenic man who believes that he is the immortal prince of God vested with superhuman powers that include an ability to control the sun, despite the US constitution’s prohibition against putting mentally ill people to death.
John Ferguson, 65, will be killed by lethal injection at 6pm on Monday unless his lawyers can convince the US supreme court to intervene. Ferguson’s legal team, backed by a raft of prominent legal and mental health organisations, are appealing on the nation’s highest legal panel to step in on grounds that the execution would be a flagrant violation of the Eighth Amendment of the US constitution that bars “cruel and unusual punishment”.
There is apparently no doubt that Ferguson was involved in the killing of eight people, over the span of several months, nearly 40 years ago; however, there also appears to be zero doubt of the man’s mental stability (or lack thereof). Not only have 30 different doctors confirmed Ferguson’s various diagnoses, beginning with confirmation of visual hallucinations by a prison doctor in 1965, but the convicted killer currently believes his execution to be a state-sponsored conspiracy to prevent him from using superpowers he derives from the sun.
14:55 // 8 months ago
“Her crime was enormous and its outcome was severe. She played the major role, and should be sentenced to death,” said Tang Yigan, the vice chief of the Intermediate People’s Court in the central city of Hefei, where the trial took place.
However, the court explained it had suspended the sentence in light of Gu’s mental state, her admissions of guilt and remorse, and her cooperation with the investigation.
Gu, a former lawyer, will now serve a minimum of 14 years in prison.
Her death penalty is likely to be commuted to life imprisonment after two years of good behaviour, and further good behaviour could see her sentence reduced again.
Gu was under mental duress last year, believing Neil Heywood was going to harm or kill her son over a failed property deal. Judges in the case said there was no evidence Heywood or his associates would have ever done so, however.
9:15 // 1 year ago