Marcus Druery is set to die August 1, but lawyers for the convicted Brazos County murderer say their client isn't competent to be executed.
In documents filed to the 85th District Court, attorneys claim Druery suffers from schizophrenia and has had mental issues that have gotten worse since the Bryan man was sent to Death Row for the Halloween 2002 murder of Skyyler Browne.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an inmate must be aware of their punishment and why they are being executed, and Druery's lawyers say their client doesn't meet that standard. They are asking for a competency hearing, and for Druery's execution date to be withdrawn.
Judge J.D. Langley will examine the matter July 24 in court, eight days prior to the execution date.
Druery would be the first Brazos County murderer to be put to death since Ynobe Matthews in January 2004. Druery was convicted of driving Browne to his family's property and shooting him repeatedly. After taking money, marijuana and other items from Browne, his body was lit on fire.
According to the filings by attorneys Greg Wiercioch and Kate Black with the Texas Defender Service, the 32-year-old first started showing signs of mental issues less than a year after arriving on Death Row at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston. In September 2004, doctors examining Druery treated him for depression and trouble sleeping, and said psychotropic medication may help him.
By January 2006, Druery said he was hearing noises, bells and people calling to him. "Make me feel like I'm losing it...my mind...not right," he told an examiner.
By March 2009, Druery was sent to the psychiatric unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Jester IV. He said he was hearing echoes, believed something was following him and listening to him, and he provided incoherent answers to questions. Druery didn't want medication and was granted a discharge a week after he went to Jester IV after he requested it.
Druery's family hired a psychologist around that time, who diagnosed him with bipolar disorder with psychotic features. By October 2009, a TDCJ psychiatrist said he had early onset psychosis. In November, he was sent back to Jester IV.
The filing by Druery's lawyers cite numerous instances in the years to follow that showed a deteriorating mental state. He claimed his food was being tampered with, said he would be released from jail soon because his sentence was up, wrote that his innocence had been proven repeatedly, and claimed he had been attacked while in jail, among other things.
The filing also notes an assessment conducted by neuropsychologist Dr. Diane Mosnik in May 2012. She diagnosed Druery with severe, active schizophrenia.
"It is further evident that Mr. Druery does not now at this time have an understanding of his own mental state or an appreciation of his experiences as symptoms of a mental illness," Mosnik wrote. "In addition, the evidence presented above supports the finding that Mr. Druery has no insight into his mental status and a limited understanding or appreciation of his actual current legal situation."
Mosnik adds, "Although [Mr. Druery] has a factual awareness than (sic) an execution date has been scheduled for the crime for which he was tried, he does not believe that he will be executed because of his illogical, fixed and firmly held delusional belief system."