Tracy Beatty, 61, will receive a lethal injection this Wednesday at Huntsville State Penitentiary. He was sentenced to death for strangling Carolyn Click after an argument in 2003
Jail in Texas. (Go Nakamura/The New York Times)
A Texas inmate whose lawyers say he has a history of mental illness faces execution Wednesday for killing his mother and burying her body in their backyard nearly 20 years ago.
Scheduled that Tracy Beatty, 61, be given a lethal injection Wednesday night at Huntsville State Penitentiary. She was sentenced to death for strangling her mother , Carolyn Click, after they got into an argument in November 2003 at her East Texas home.
Authorities say Beatty buried her 62-year-old mother's body next to her mobile home in Whitehouse, about 115 miles (180 kilometers) southeast of Dallas, then spent her money on drugs and alcohol.
Beatty's lawyers have asked the US Supreme Court to stay his scheduled execution, arguing that he was prevented from receiving a full examination to determine whether he is intellectually disabled and may not be eligible for execution. He has had three previous execution dates.
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows death row inmate Tracy Beatty, who will receive a lethal injection Wednesday night, Nov. 9, 2022, at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)
His attorneys have requested that state prison officials allow Beatty to be released from handcuffs during expert mental health evaluations. Experts argue that having Beatty handcuffed during neurological and other tests is crucial to making an informed decision about intellectual disability and assessing his mental health.
An expert who examined a Beatty said that “he is clearly psychotic and has a complex paranoid delusional belief system” and that he lives in a “complex delusional world” where he believes there is a “vast conspiracy of prison officials who… 'torture' him through a device in his ear so he can hear their threatening voices,” Beatty's attorneys wrote in their petition to the Supreme Court.
In 2021, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice implemented an informal policy, citing safety and liability concerns, that would only allow an inmate to be released during expert evaluation through a court order.< /p>
The inmate has had three prior execution dates.< p class="paragraph">Federal judges in East Texas and Houston and the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans previously ruled against Beatty's request for an evaluation without handcuffs. The federal appeals court called Beatty's request a“delay tactic.”U.S. District Judge Charles Eskridge in Houston last week questioned why Beatty's attorneys had not raised any claims related to his mental health during years of appeals, saying requiring handcuffs during such an evaluation is “simply a rational safety concern.” ”.
While the Supreme Court has prohibited the death penalty for people with intellectual disabilities, it has not prohibited such punishment for people with serious mental illness, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
The Texas Legislature considered a bill in 2019 that would have banned the death penalty for someone with a serious mental illness. The legislation did not pass.
On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously refused to commute Beatty's death sentence to a lesser sentence or grant a reprieve from six months.
File photo showing the death chamber where prisoners die by lethal injection. EFE/Paul Buck
Beatty had a “volatile and combative relationship” with her mother, according to prosecutors. A neighbor of hers, Lieanna Wilkerson, testified that Click told her that Beatty had assaulted her multiple times before her, including once when he “beat her so severely that he left her for dead.” But Wilkerson said Click was still thrilled that Beatty was moving back in with her in October 2003 so they could mend their relationship.
But mother and son argued every day, and Click told him Twice she asked her son to move out, including just before she was killed, according to testimony from Beatty's 2004 trial.
“Several times (Beatty) had saying he just wanted to shut her up, he just wanted to strangle her and shut her up,” Wilkerson testified.
If Beatty is executed, it would be the fourth inmate executed this year in Texas and the 13th in the US Another execution in Texas, the last in the state in 2022, is scheduled for next week.
(with information from AP)