The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the case of Alabama death row inmate Vernon Madison, whose lawyers say that his dementia prevents him from remembering the murder he was convicted of committing decades ago. Madison, 67, was scheduled to be put to death last month, but less than a half hour before the execution was to take place, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a stay, CNN reported.
Madison has been convicted three times in the shooting of Mobile police Cpl. Julius Schulte, who was responding to a 1985 domestic disturbance call. Madison, who was on parole, sneaked up behind Schulte and shot him twice in the head. He also shot his girlfriend, who survived her wounds. At his first and second trials, Madison argued that he was not guilty because he was mentally ill. At his third trial, he argued self-defense.
Madison’s sentence was imposed in 1994 by a judge, after a jury recommended life without parole. His lawyers argue that the death sentence is unfair because a 2017 Alabama law no longer permits judicial override and they say Madison’s sentence should be commuted to life without parole.