Federal judge denies stay of execution for Alabama man

AP News
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Posted: May 10, 2016 6:24 PM
Federal judge denies stay of execution for Alabama man

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge Tuesday denied a stay of execution for an Alabama man scheduled to be put to death Thursday for killing a Mobile police officer in 1985.

U.S. District Judge Kristi K. DuBose agreed with a lower court that 65-year-old Vernon Madison was competent and could be executed. Madison's attorneys had sought a stay arguing that Madison has been left incompetent by strokes and dementia

Dubose noted testimony from a court-appointed expert that said Madison had medically declined but could talk about specifics of his case. She also noted Madison's reported response that," my lawyers are supposed to be handling that," when the warden came to read him the death warrant. She wrote it was not an "unreasonable" conclusion that the lower court reached in finding Madison competent.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that prisoners should have a rational understanding of their imminent execution.

Madison is scheduled to get a lethal injection Thursday for the slaying of Mobile police Officer Julius Schulte. Madison shot Schulte in the back of the head as he sat in his police car after the officer had responded to a domestic dispute involving Madison, according to court filings.

Defense lawyers had sought the emergency stay request, arguing that Madison no longer understands why the state of Alabama is planning to execute him. Madison's legal team wrote that Madison has an IQ of 72, doesn't independently remember details of the 1985 murder, speaks in a slurred manner and can no longer walk.

Defense lawyers wrote that Madison is in a "small category of defendants for whom execution is inappropriate."

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This story has corrected the day the judge made her decision to Tuesday.