Missouri is about to execute its oldest death row inmate who had lost eight percent of his brain due to a sawmill accident. Attorneys for Cecil Clayton, 74, are now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution due to dementia and brain damage brought by the accident.
Request for Clemency
Clayton will be executed on Tuesday, March 17, through lethal injection for killing a 23-year-old sheriff’s deputy who was survived with his wife and three children. The deputy was shot in the forehead while driving his car and was dead upon arrival at the hospital.
Clayton was found guilty of the crime, and his attorneys are making a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and the state’s governor to spare his life. They said surgeons had already taken away eight percent of Clayton’s brain, including one-fifth of the frontal lobe portion, to remove a piece of wood that pierced into his skull during the sawmill accident.
The removal of such portion of the brain caused him to lose control and have lapses in judgment.
According to a preview of the Missouri execution case from The Associated Press, Clayton has an IQ of 71, and psychiatric testing has revealed he has no discernment as to why he is going to be executed. According to one of his lawyers, Cynthia Short, mental health experts asked to examine him found he is intellectually incompetent. Furthermore, Clayton’s brother told court he was also suffering depression as a result of his wife leaving him after the sawmill accident.
Ban on Cruel and Unusual Punishment
In a separate report from NBC News, Clayton’s attorneys showed the court a brain scan proving Clayton is indeed missing a potion of his brain.
“This court, nonetheless, rushes to reject his request for a hearing before a special master at which he can attempt to prove his incompetency claim and his claims that he is intellectually disabled. The majority’s decision to proceed with the execution at this time and in these circumstances violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment,” Clayton’s attorney wrote in their dissent.