Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Holton Denied Relief

U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips, ruling from the bench this afternoon, declared that Daryl Holton is competent to waive his appeals, thus clearing the way for Holton to be executed in less than two weeks. In doing so, the judge ignored clear evidence that Holton has suffered from major depression and psychosis for more than twenty years, that Holton was suffering from these conditions at the time of the crime, and that Holton has a long series of suicidal impulses which may now be guiding his behavior, especially when we take into account his recent decision to die by electrocution rather than lethal injection.

The sad fact is, of course, that under the ludicrously narrow definition of competence set up by state law, the judge may be, in a strictly legalistic sense, right. Our legal definitions of incompetence have not evolved in 100 years, while our medical understanding of mental illness has increased exponentially. Thus, a man with clearly diagnosed mental illness directing his actions both currently and at the time of the crime is set to be murdered by the state of Tennessee only fourteen days from now.

The one ray of hope escaping from the court proceedings today is that the judge has agreed to issue a Certificate of Appealability. This document would say that reasonable jurors could disagree over the findings and might help convince the Sixth Circuit to grant a stay. However, there is certainly no guarantee, so we at TCASK will continue our plans for clemency and vigiling.

Download a Daryl Holton flyer to post in your school, workplace, church etc.
Comments :
I doubt that the schools those murdered children attended would welcome such a flyer. I live in the same town where Holton committed these atrocities and worked at the hospital when the bodies of those dead children were brought in after they were found.It makes me sick even to this day.

His depression could be - going out on a limb here - due to the fact that he feels so damn guilty about what he did that he can't live with it anymore. I'm a compassionate person but I find that I lack an ounce of it for Daryl Holton.

I can't believe you're advocating posting these flyers in a school. Or anywhere else for that matter.

Just my opinion. Not that anyone asked.
I certainly can understand where you're coming from.....this dude is definitely a very sick individual who did an unthinkable act - don't think anybody is saying that he didn't.
That said, we as Tennesseans, as compassionate people need to rise above this kind of act and respond in a way in which we can be right with our beliefs and faith.
This man is sick, he needs help and yes he needs forgiveness from his Heavenly Father (if not from you and me).
What we don't need to do is premeditatedly murder him. What will that do? If we compassionately recognized this man's illness BEFORE he killed, perhaps those children wouldf still be alive.
My two cents....
Dear Deb,

First I want to thank you for expressing your views, even though you probably knew that, on an abolitionist website, most folks would disagree with you.

Second, I just want to poit out, as Auggie did previously, that Holton's depression is not a result of his crime. He suffered from severe depression for years and years before the crime. He has a long history of hospitalization and treatment, prior to the murders, but he never received the full course of treatment that he needed. We need to find options that offer treatment, not death, to those who suffer from mental illness.
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