Lawyers ask Supreme Court to halt inmate’s execution, citing mental illness

HOUSTON — Attorneys who contend a Texas death row inmate set for execution this week is too mentally ill for execution have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the punishment.

Scott Panetti is set for lethal injection Wednesday for the 1992 shooting deaths of his in-laws at their home in Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country.

Panetti’s lawyers Monday told the high court the 56-year-old inmate’s execution would violate constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Justices have prohibited the execution of people who are mentally impaired but have allowed capital punishment for those with mental illnesses as long as they have a factual and rational understanding of why they’re being put to death.

Another appeal for Panetti before a federal appeals court seeks an execution delay for additional competency evaluations.

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