Brazos Valley Burn Bans: The following counties are under a Burn Ban: Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Houston, Lee, Leon, Madison, Milam, Robertson, San Jacinto, Trinity, Walker, Washington
Just days before his execution, an appeals court has issued a stay for convicted Bryan killer Marcus Druery.
The 32-year-old was set to die Wednesday, August 1. Friday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals put a halt to the process for now, saying further review of Druery's competency is needed.
Earlier this week, local Judge J.D. Langley denied Druery's request for a competency hearing and a stay, but the higher court said they needed further review.
Druery was set to die for the 2002 murder of Waco student Skyyler Browne on the Druery family property in Brazos County, but his lawyers claim he is unaware of his punishment because he suffers from schizophrenia, which has progressively gotten worse in his time on Death Row.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled you cannot put someone to death who is unaware of the execution or why it is happening. Tuesday, a prosecutor successfully argued to Langley that writings and statements Druery had made, while odd, demonstrated that Druery knows his fate and why he is scheduled to be executed.
Druery's lawyers have countered that while their client may have a factual understanding of the execution, he does not have a rational understanding.
It's unclear when the appeals court will conduct its review.
The last Brazos County killer to be executed was Ynobe Matthews in 2004.
Kate Black, an attorney representing Druery, issued the following statement Friday afternoon:
"We are pleased that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution of Marcus Druery to allow for careful consideration of our request for a competency hearing. The State has never contested the fact that Mr. Druery suffers from a psychotic disorder, which has been diagnosed by the State's own experts. Executing Mr. Druery, who lacks a rational understanding of his punishment, would stand in clear violation of the Constitution. We are hopeful the Court will find that Mr. Druery is entitled to a full and fair hearing to present the evidence of his severe psychosis and establish his incompetence to be executed."
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