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Appeals Court Halts Tonight's Execution of Texas Man Thought to be Mentally Ill

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TDCJ via Texas Tribune

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has halted tonight's scheduled execution of Scott Louis Panetti, who killed his wife's parents in Fredricksburg more than 20 years ago.

His attorneys argued his mental illness has worsened and he needs to undergo new mental competency tests because he's too delusional to understand why he's being punished.

Panetti represented himself at his trial and attempted to subpoena the Pope and Jesus. A group of prominent conservatives, including former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asked Governor Perry to intervene. 

In a brief order today, the Fifth Circuit said it is temporarily halting the execution to allow it time to consider the "complex legal questions at issue in this matter."