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Death row inmate Andre Thomas, who put out his eyes, is asking for leniency

A notorious Texas death row inmate with a past plagued by unimaginable violence and mental illness is pleading for leniency. There are also nearly 200 faith and mental health leaders calling on Texas Governor Greg Abbott to halt the state execution of Andre Thomas.

Thomas is on death row for the gruesome murder of his estranged wife and two children in March 2004 in Sherman, Texas. Thomas, who at that time was 21 years old, fatally stabbed his wife, Laura Boren; his 4-year-old son, Andre; and his 13-month-old stepdaughter, Leyha Hughes.

The Texas Tribune reported: “He tore out children’s hearts and in a failed attempt to remove his mother’s heart, removed part of her lung. After failing to commit suicide, Thomas put the organs into pocket and went home.”

After a brief stay in a state mental hospital, Thomas was deemed competent to stand trial.

The outlet added: “While awaiting trial in jail, days after surgeons repaired his bleeding heart, Thomas gouged out his right eye with his bare hand, spurred on by the scriptures: ‘If the right eye offends you, tear it out”.

Thomas was convicted of murder and sentenced to death after jurors rejected his insanity defense.

While in prison, Thomas attempted to slash his wrists and slit his own throat. In December 2008, Thomas had his left eye enucleated. After removing the second eyeball, Thomas ate it in his jail cell. Thomas ate his own eyeball to prevent the government from seeing his thoughts.

Thomas is scheduled to be executed by the state on April 5.

Thomas’ lawyers argue that he suffers from a serious mental illness and is not competent to be executed. Lawyers say Thomas started hearing voices when he was 9, tried to kill himself for the first time at 10 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a “very young age”.

Attorney Maurie Levin. said: “Governor Abbott has the power to stop the show of prison guards driving a blind, mentally incompetent and delusional man to the death chamber.”

According to the Dallas Morning News, “The US Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the execution of someone who is not competent, someone who lacks enough connection to reality to understand why he is being put to death.” .

More than 100 religious leaders and 77 mental health professionals called on Abbott to grant clemency to Thomas.

“As a Texan and a Christian, I can’t imagine the good it serves us to kill such a clearly mentally ill man,” said Stephen Reeves, executive director of Fellowship Southwest. “Killing him now would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment. He poses no threat to others behind bars, but executing him will only perpetuate violence and increase injustice.”

The Reverend Jaime Kowlessar, pastor of Dallas, said: “We pray that Governor Abbott will choose the path of healing and grace by saving Mr. Thomas’ life.”

“It would be very troubling to execute Mr. Thomas at the exact time when the (Texas) House is once again considering exempting people like him from execution,” said Greg Hansch, executive director of the National Alliance for in Texas Mental Illness.

J. Kerye Ashmore of the Grayson County District Attorney’s Office stated, “A jury has spoken about what justice should be in this case. We will not ignore that.”

Since taking office in 2015, Abbott has granted clemency to only one death row inmate.

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