Texas, USA: Call for 'brain-damaged' man's execution to be stopped

Amnesty International is calling for the execution of a man in the US state of Texas who may be brain-damaged to be stopped.

Kenneth Mosley, 51, faces execution by lethal injection in three days’ time (Thursday 7 January) unless Texas governor Rick Perry intervenes. Amnesty supporters are sending “urgent action” appeals to Governor Perry and to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Mosley was sentenced to death in 1997 after being found guilty of the murder of a police officer called David Moore in an attempted bank robbery in the city of Garland, Texas.

At his trial Mosley testified that he had not intended to shoot Moore and there were conflicting eyewitness accounts as to whether the shooting appeared intentional. Meanwhile, the trial jury was told nothing about Mosley’s upbringing, which was marked by violent abuse from his father and exposure to toxic pesticides that may have seriously damaged his brain. Neither did the jury hear of his severe depression and a long history of cocaine and alcohol abuse as “self-medication”.

After his trial two psychologists concluded that Mosley suffered from frontal lobe dysfunction. Another psychologist said he had "generalised brain impairment as well as damage to specific areas in both the right and left sides of his brain." The third expert said that the "primary cause" of his "neuro-cognitive deficits" was "his lengthy and varied exposures to toxic chemicals at a vulnerable developmental stage."

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Executions are always cruel and unnecessary, but for Texas to put to death a man who might be brain-damaged would be utterly unforgivable.

“Our thoughts are with the family of Officer Moore at this time but even those that support the death penalty ought to admit it’s totally wrong to execute a man like Kenneth Mosley.”

“As with many other US capital cases, a jury has made a decision over Mosley’s fate without hearing the full story. Governor Rick Perry should, in all conscience, stop this execution.”

Death row in the USA: some key facts

Texas is one of 35 US states to retain the death penalty

The USA has seen a fall in the number of executions in recent years, but it still executes dozens of people every year - in 2009 there were 52 executions

Kenneth Mosely is one of 342 inmates (332 men, 10 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights) on death row in Texas

Since 1976 the USA has executed 1,188 people

From 1973 to the present 139 people have been released from death row in the USA on the grounds of innocence (an average of approximately three exonerations per year)

Some 3,300 prisoners remain on death row in the USA.

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