Update: Texas death row inmate Andre Thomas, who pulled out his eyes and ate one of them, was declared "clearly crazy but sane under Texas law." Thomas killed his wife and 4 year-old son, both were stabbed to death with their hearts were ripped out. Thomas then walked into the Sherman Police Department and admitted to the killings, saying God told him to commit them.
This week, the nine justices unanimously denied Thomas' request for a new trial.
"Although reasonable people might well differ on the question of whether (Thomas) was sane at the time he committed these murders or competent at the time he was tried, those issues were appropriately addressed by the defense, the prosecution, trial judge, and the jury during the trial," Judge Cathy Cochran wrote in her opinion. "This is a sad case. (Thomas) is clearly 'crazy,' but he is also 'sane' under Texas law."
Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown said the ruling ends the state phase of Thomas' appeal of his death sentence. That appeal began in March 2005 after Grayson County jurors convicted Thomas of killing Leyha Marie Hughes, the daughter of Thomas' estranged wife, Laura Boren Thomas.
Jurors also answered the special questions presented to jurors at the end of a capital case in a manner that caused Judge James Fry to sentence Thomas to death. Though prosecutors never tried him for their deaths, Thomas also admitted to killing Laura Boren Thomas and their son Andre Lee Boren.
In the days just after the March 27, 2004 murders, Thomas pulled out his own eye after quoting Bible scriptures in the Grayson County Jail. In December of 2008, Thomas pulled out his other eye and ate it while in a cell on Texas' death row.
"It is sometimes hard for people to understand that a person can be mentally ill, or as the Court of Criminal Appeals said, "crazy," and still be legally sane under Texas law," Brown said after hearing of the ruling.
"Andre Thomas knew what he did was wrong, and if the evidence supports that, and the jury finds that, he is guilty," Brown said. "Judge Cochran's opinion explains that very effectively. Many people in Grayson County don't care if he was crazy, insane, or anything else -- what he did to those kids and his wife deserves the death penalty," Brown said.
The moral to the story, don't mess with Texas.