Capital Punishment, Mental Illness, and Intellectual Disability: The Failure to Protect Individuals with Mental Disorders Facing Execution

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Capital Punishment, Mental Illness, and Intellectual Disability: The Failure to Protect Individuals with Mental Disorders Facing Execution

On September 25, 1992, just days after his family tried to have him committed to a psychiatric hospital, Kelsey Pattersonshot shot two people, removed all of his clothing except for a pair of socks, then waited in the street for the police to arrest him. Prosecutors charged him with capital murder. During his trial, Mr. Patterson frequently spoke of “remote control devices” and “implants” that controlled his behavior. The prosecution conceded that he was severely mentally ill. Nevertheless, he was convicted and condemned to death.