Stay Sought in Execution of Mentally Ill Killer
A killer who has been diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic and was said to be so heavily sedated during his trial that he slept through much of it awaited execution in a case that could focus new attention on capital punishment and the mentally ill.
James Colburn’s lawyers hope the U.S. Supreme Court will stop Wednesday’s execution, which would be Texas’ 30th this year. The high court this year banned the execution of the mentally retarded as unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment, but the justices so far have refused blanket protection from the death penalty for people such as Colburn.
Colburn, 42, is set to die by lethal injection for fatally stabbing a hitchhiker in the throat with a steak knife during an attempt to rape her at his home in 1994.