Fla. Man Scheduled To Be Executed Tuesday Requests Emergency Stay From U.S. Supreme Court

Oct 23, 2012

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Florida is scheduled to execute a convicted murderer, after an appeals court vacated his execution stay on Monday. But, the man’s lawyers say he is too insane to be killed, and they’ve filed an emergency request for a stay with the U.S. Supreme Court.

John Ferguson was convicted of killing eight people in the Miami area in the 1970's. But, his lawyer, Ben Lewis, says, Ferguson’s long-documented mental illness makes it unconstitutional to execute him.

“He believes he’s incarcerated as the result of a communist plot because he is the prince of God," Lewis said. "And he believes that he can’t be killed, that his father will protect him. And that the purported execution will merely render him with special powers.”

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Ferguson was mentally fit to be executed because he understood he was being killed.

But, his lawyers argue, in 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court set a higher standard for mental fitness. It ruled, a prisoner must understand why he’s executed and that he won’t be revived.

Without the high court’s intervention, Ferguson will die today.