Bryan Death Row Inmate Gets New Competency Hearing

BRYAN
*UPDATE*

Marcus Druery has been on death row since December 5, 2003 and was originally set to die on August 1, 2012 for the shooting death of Skyyler Browne. A dive team recovered Brown's body from a stock pond on Druery's family property in Brazos County.

His defense attorney argued their client has schizophrenia and lacked a rational understanding of why he was going to be put to death. In the United States, an inmate must be aware of their execution and why they are being put to death prior to the execution.

“Because of his mental illness that he has these delusions about evidence that doesn't exist and confessions from people that don't exist so there's such a disconnect between what he thinks the case is about and the reasons he's actually being executed that he doesn't have a rational understanding,” said KBTX Legal Analyst Shane Phelps.

On July 24th, 85th District Court Judge J-D Langley denied a defense request for a competency hearing. Three days later on appeal, and just five days from the lethal injection, the Texas Court of Criminal of Appeals put a hold on the execution until they could further look into the matter to decide whether a hearing should be held. Fifteen months later, the court ruled there was enough credible evidence to consider Druery's competency, and subsequently ordered a new hearing in Judge Langley's court.

A date has yet to be determined.

Druery's attorney, Kate Black, was unavailable for an interview Wednesday, but in a statement released this morning, she said she was pleased with the appellate court's ruling.

"Much of the evidence of Mr. Druery's mental illness comes from the State's own mental health professionals, who have repeatedly diagnosed Mr. Druery as schizophrenic, paranoid and delusional.

A full hearing is critically important to establish that Mr. Druery lacks a rational understanding of his execution. We are confident that the Brazos County District Court will give Mr. Druery's case the thorough and fair consideration it deserves in order to ensure that Texas does not execute a severely psychotic man."

======================================
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled a Bryan man whose execution was put on hold deserves a competency hearing to determine whether he is fit to die for his crimes.

Marcus Druery had originally been due to die August 1, 2012 for shooting death of Skyyler Browne, who was murdered on Halloween 2002. Druery's lawyers argued the 33-year-old had a schizophrenia diagnosis, and lacked a rational understanding that he was going to die despite a factual understanding.

In the United States, an inmate must be aware of their execution and why they are being put to death prior to the execution.

Judge J.D. Langley of Brazos County's 85th District Court denied a defense motion for a competency hearing on July 24, 2012. Three days later, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed Druery's execution until they could further review the case.

Wednesday, the court ordered the defense-requested competency hearing to take place in Langley's court, saying "the trial court erred in weighing the credible evidence of Appellant's incompetency against credible evidence of his competency to determine that he had not made a 'substantial showing' of incompetency."

Druery's execution stay remains in effect by court order. He has been on Death Row since late 2003.

"We are pleased that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found sufficient evidence of Marcus Druery's severe mental illness to warrant competency proceedings," said Kate Black, Druery's attorney, in a statement. "Much of the evidence of Mr. Druery's mental illness comes from the State's own mental health professionals, who have repeatedly diagnosed Mr. Druery as schizophrenic, paranoid and delusional. A full hearing is critically important to establish that Mr. Druery lacks a rational understanding of his execution. We are confident that the Brazos County District Court will give Mr. Druery's case the thorough and fair consideration it deserves in order to ensure that Texas does not execute a severely psychotic man."

Lawyers for the state have argued that letters and statements Druery has made aren't normal, but they do show Druery's awareness, including his asking for additional witnesses to be questioned that would prove his innocence.

The Brazos County District Attorney's Office, per their policy, will not comment on Wednesday's ruling since it is a pending case. A spokesperson says there is no timetable for the ordered hearing.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, Trolling or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to comments@kbtx.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus
KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 229872201 - kbtx.com/a?a=229872201