Oct

05

Randall Mays comes one step closer to execution

Posted by : admin | On : October 5, 2017

Randall Wayne Mays-death row
Special to The News
ATHENS–On May 17, 2007, Randall Wayne Mays took the life Henderson County Sheriff’s deputy Tony Ogburn and Investigator Paul Habelt, and seriously injured another, Deputy Kevin Harris.
The following year, Mays was convicted of Capital Murder and sentenced to die by lethal injection. In addition to his direct appeal, he filed writs and petitions which were heard in both state and federal courts, including the U. S. Supreme Court, seeking to overturn his conviction. Those attempts were unsuccessful at every stage, and his execution was scheduled for March 18, 2015.
The month before he was to be executed, lawyers from the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs based in Austin, (a state funded, Public Defender agency that represents death penalty defendants in post-conviction litigation), filed a “Motion Re Competency to be Executed,” claiming that Mays was currently (mentally) incompetent to be executed.
The Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution and remanded the case back to the trial court for the appointment of experts to evaluate Mays pursuant to the standards for competency to be executed in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 46.05. Those standards require that a person condemned to death understand that he or she is to be executed and that the execution is imminent. Additionally, the person must also have a rational understanding as to the reason that they will be executed.
Judge Carter Tarrance, 392nd District Judge at the time, appointed three experts to evaluate Mays for competency. Dr. George Woods, Jr., Berkeley, Calif., Dr. Bhushan Agharkar, Atlanta, Ga., and Dr. Randall Price, Dallas, all evaluated Mays and prepared reports for the Court, the last of which was received in May of this year.
Both Dr. Woods and Agharkar believed that Mays was incompetent to be executed while Dr. Price determined that he was competent under the applicable standards.
A three and a half day hearing was held before visiting Judge Joe D. Clayton of Tyler from August 9-12 where he heard testimony from all three experts in addition to five other witnesses. He also reviewed a voluminous amount of records and transcripts from the original trial, mental health records and records from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division that documented Mays’s history while incarcerated including correspondence from Mays to family and friends, and communications between Mays and prison officials.
Woods and Agharkar testified that while Mays understood he was to be executed, he did not have a rational understanding as to why, believing that he was suffering from pervasive delusions centered around his “green energy” designs for wind and solar powered equipment. They reported to the Court that Mays believed he was going to be executed because his design would cost the state and the oil industry billions of dollars, and since this was not a “rational” belief, he was incompetent to be executed. Mays never mentioned this to Dr. Price during his evaluation, but did indicate that he knew he had been convicted of Capital Murder involving three officers, and felt that his conviction and punishment were unfair because the deputies came onto his property
Likewise, Mays never mentioned in his correspondence or numerous grievances while in prison that his energy ideas had anything to do with his pending execution, a fact noted by Judge Clayton in his signed order finding Mays competent to be executed, which was filed on Monday, Oct. 2.
District Attorney Mark Hall, who was joined by First Assistant Nancy Rumar in arguing the competency case in August, said that he believes the Judge made the correct call. “Judge Clayton listened intently to hour upon hour of expert testimony over the course of the hearing; and while giving due consideration to the oftentimes complicated, and in my view, occasionally convoluted mental health findings, he was able to cut through the jargon and apply a strong dose of common sense to the issue.”
“I don’t think there is any question that Randall Mays understands exactly what he did, and what a jury found him guilty of, or the reason for which he received the sentence of death. He has been given every opportunity to contest his conviction and sentence, which I think was appropriate under the circumstances,” said Hall.
The District Attorney intends to file a motion for the Court to set an execution date, but anticipates that before it is carried out, Mays will make a motion that the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) review Judge Clayton’s order and enter a judgment of whether to adopt the order, findings and recommendations.
At that point, the CCA would determine whether any existing execution date should be withdrawn and a stay of execution issued while that court is conducting its review. Otherwise, the execution will be carried out as ordered.
“This has been a long, and sometimes frustrating road for the family and friends of these slain and injured officers, with each stage of the process renewing and reopening the feelings of sadness, anger and loss. But I have confidence in our criminal justice system, and that Randall Mays will soon face the sentence he received and deserved,” said Hall.