Mental Illness on death row is a serious problem, as shown by this incident, reported in the Austin American-Statesman. Mr. Thomas, 25, had already pulled out his other eye in 2004 while awaiting trial in Sherman. He was ruled competent to stand trial.
By MICHAEL GRACZYK
Associated Press Writer
HOUSTON — A Texas death row inmate with a history of mental problems pulled out his only good eye, authorities said Friday.
Andre Thomas told officers he ate it.
Thomas, 25, was arrested for the fatal stabbings of his estranged wife, their young son and her 13-month-old daughter in March 2004. Their hearts also had been ripped out. He was convicted and condemned for the infant’s death.
While in the Grayson County Jail in Sherman, Thomas similarly had plucked out his right eye before his trial later in 2004. A judge subsequently ruled he was competent to stand trial.
A death-row officer at the Polunsky Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice found Thomas in his cell with blood on his face and had him taken to the unit infirmary.
“”Thomas said he pulled out his eye and subsequently ingested it,” agency spokesman Jason Clark said Friday.
Thomas was treated at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler after the Dec. 9 incident. Then he was transferred and remains at the Jester Unit, a prison psychiatric facility near Richmond southwest of Houston.
“He will finally be able to receive the mental health care that we had wanted and begged for from day 1,” Bobbie Peterson-Cate, Thomas’ trial attorney, told the Sherman Herald Democrat. “He is insane and mentally ill. It is exactly the same reason he pulled out the last one.”
At his trial, defense lawyers also argued he suffered from alcohol and drug abuse.
Thomas does not have an execution date.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in October upheld his conviction and death sentence for the death of 13-month-old Leyha Marie Hughes. Also killed March 27, 2004, were his wife, Laura Christine Boren, 20, and their son, 4-year-old Andre Lee.
Thomas, from Texoma, walked into the Sherman Police Department and told a dispatcher he had just murdered the three and had stabbed himself in the chest.
Thomas told police how he put his victims’ hearts in his pocket and left their apartment, took them home, put them in a plastic bag and threw them in the trash.
Court documents described the three victims as having “large, gaping wounds to their chests.”