Truthout reports that Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed a new death warrant for John Erroll Ferguson, despite the fact that several psychiatrists agree as to the fact that he’s a paranoid schizophrenic. The State Supreme Court has ruled that although they agree with the psychiatrists’ findings, that the 64 year-old’s delusions are not that far from mainstream Christian beliefs. The case will be brought to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1977, despite the warnings issued by his state appointed doctors, Ferguson was released from a Florida mental institution. Shortly after that, he went on a killing spree, for which he was originally sentenced to die. Since then, numerous psychiatrists and other mental health experts have continued to diagnose him as psychotic.
From the Truthout article:
The prosecution initially argued that Ferguson was faking his symptoms. But that was shot down last week by Bradford County Eighth Judicial Circuit Judge David Glant who found the testimony of Ferguson’s experts “credible and compelling” and ruled that Ferguson’s delusions are “genuine.” Nevertheless, Glant ruled that Ferguson is competent for execution because his beliefs are in keeping with Christian teachings.
Ferguson expresses the belief, among other things, that he is the “Prince of God” chosen to fight two antichrists alongside Jesus – after which he will rule the world with multiple wives. In his mind, his incarceration is part of a “hardening” process designed by God to prepare him to return to earth after his execution and save America from a communist plot.
In 1986, the SCOTUS outlawed the execution of the mentally ill. In Ford v. Wainwright, they found that the defendant has to be able to comprehend the nature of the penalty. In other words, he needs to be able to understand the concept of being put to death. In another case, in 2007 – Panetti v. Quarterman – the court added even more requirements before Texas could execute an individual who suffered from similar delusions to Ferguson’s.
Ferguson has stated that Florida’s willingness to have him executed is not due to any crimes he may have committed, but rather due to a conspiracy between the state and one of the two Antichrists that God has called upon him to destroy. Ferguson believes that upon killing these two Antichrists, he will rule the world beside Jesus.
Here’s more from Truthout:
Ferguson also lacks any understanding of the consequences of execution. He believes death penalty is no match for his special powers which prevent him from ever being killed and that “just like Jesus, you’ll come and look and you won’t find me there [in my grave]“.
Despite all of this, the Florida Supreme Court held that only a factual “awareness” of his crime and the reasons for his sentence are required for Ferguson to qualify as competent. At the same time, the Court denied that Ferguson “believes himself unable to die or that he is being executed for any reason other than the murders he was convicted of in 1978.”
Here’s the link to their coverage:
- Judge: schizophrenic man can be put to death because his Jesus vision is basically the same as all Christians (deathandtaxesmag.com)
- Florida high court upholds decision on executing Miami mass murderer (miamiherald.com)
- FL Judge: Schizophrenic death row inmate’s Jesus visions no crazier than many Christians’ (freethoughtblogs.com)
- FLORIDA – Mentally ill death row inmate who believes he is the Prince of God WILL be executed after judge rules he is ‘sane’ – FERGUSON (claimyourinnocence.wordpress.com)
- Florida inmate found fit to be executed despite history of mental illness (guardian.co.uk)
- Florida inmate found fit to be executed despite mental illness (rawstory.com)
- Nothing good about execution of mentally ill man (miamiherald.com)
- US Supreme Court rejects Fla. killer’s 1st appeal (miamiherald.com)
- Schizophrenic Delusion the Same as Christian Worldview? (patheos.com)
- Florida Judge Allows Paranoid Schizophrenic Who Believes He Is The ‘Prince of God’ To Be Executed (thinkprogress.org)