A 62-year-old man scheduled to be executed in Arkansas on November 9, 2017 has requested his head be surgically removed and brain examined by an out-of-state medical examiner, according to NBC news. Jack Greene, who has been on death row since 1991, was originally sentenced to death for the murder of a pastor who had accused him of arson. He had also murdered his own brother just days before, NBC states.
The defendant’s attorneys are pleading with the courts and governor to stay the execution because Greene is mentally ill, says NBC. He claims that he has suffered brain injuries and dementia from his treatment during his stay with the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Greene believes a postmortem examination of his brain will confirm this fact.
Greene’s lawyers filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the execution, but a circuit judge dismissed it. NBC also states that Arkansas Governor Asa Hitchinson has read reviews and examinations from mental health doctors and considered Greene’s parole hearing testimonies, determining that Greene is of sound enough mind to understand he is being punished for the murder of the pastor - and competent to the Supreme Court’s standards to be executed.
However, the American Bar Association and two dozen mental health professionals in Arkansas believe Greene to be mentally ill and are urging the Governor to “show mercy”, states NBC. Hutchinson stated he will continue to review any additional facts in the case as the date of execution approaches.
The president of the ABA has stated that though the association does not take a stance on the correctness of capital punishment or dispute Greene’s guilt, it does have “significant concerns” about execution being the correct punishment for Greene due to concerns of mental illness, says NBC.
It is unclear whether Greene’s will may be fulfilled at this time.
Arkansas executed four death row inmates in April of this year, marking the state’s first in almost twelve years, NBC stated. Originally, Arkansas had eight executions scheduled for that month because its supply of midazolam, the lethal injection drug, was about to expire. The state’s courts stopped four of those eight.
Greene was scheduled for execution after a new supply of midazolam was obtained by the prison. The Arkansas Supreme Court did rule that the manufacturer, but not suppliers, of the drug had to be identified, says NBC.