Florida Supreme Court: Schizophrenic Man Mentally Fit To Be Executed

Oct 17, 2012

Today, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a death-row inmate is mentally fit to be executed. But, lawyers for the man, John Ferguson, plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. They say he is a paranoid schizophrenic who’s unable to understand his own death.

Ferguson’s lawyers say, he suffered from mental delusions, even before being convicted of several murders in the 1970's. But the Florida high court is agreeing with a judge who ruled him mentally fit.

The judge, David Glant, said Ferguson’s beliefs were not so different from Christian beliefs as to suggest insanity. But Ferguson’s attorney, Chris Handman, says, that’s simply not true.

“He thinks that he is omnipotent. He doesn’t appreciate why he is in fact being executed. He thinks that he’s going to return to earth," Handman said on Wednesday.

Ferguson was originally scheduled to be executed on Tuesday. And the court is revoking a previously issued temporary stay with its Wednesday decision.

Handman says, he will now tell the U.S. Supreme Court that Ferguson does not understand the permanence of his impending death.