HOUSTON (AP) – A Texas inmate whose lawyers said has a history of mental illness faces execution for killing his mother and burying her body in her backyard nearly 20 years ago.
Tracy Beatty, 61, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection today at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. He was sentenced to death for strangling his mother, Carolyn Click, after they argued in November 2003 in her East Texas home.
Authorities said Beatty buried his 62-year-old mother’s body beside her mobile home in Whitehouse, about 180 kilometres (km) southeast of Dallas, and then spent her money on drugs and alcohol.
Beatty’s attorneys have asked the United States (US) Supreme Court to stay his scheduled execution, arguing he was being prevented from receiving a full examination to determine if he is intellectually disabled and possibly ineligible to be put to death. He has had three prior execution dates.
His attorneys have requested that state prison officials allow Beatty to be uncuffed during mental health evaluations by experts. The experts argue that having Beatty uncuffed during neurological and other tests is crucial to making an informed decision about intellectual disability and evaluating his mental health.
One expert who examined Beatty said he “is clearly psychotic and has a complex paranoid delusional belief system” and that he lives in a “complex delusional world” where he believes there is a “vast conspiracy of correctional officers who… ‘torture’ him via a device in his ear so he can hear their menacing voices,” Beatty’s lawyers wrote in their Supreme Court petition.
In 2021, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice put in place an informal policy, citing security and liability concerns, that would only allow an inmate to be unshackled during an expert evaluation through a court order.