Milton Mathis, 32, was convicted in 1999 for shootings that killed a 24-year-old, Travis Brown III, and 31-year-old, Daniel Hibbard.
The Texas Correctional system discovered that Mathis suffered from mental retardation after IQ tests were administered, but decided to go through with execution because prosecutors contended that his criminal behavior indicated “near-normal intelligence.”
In 2001, Gov. Perry vetoed a bill passed by the Texas legislature banning the execution of the mentally retarded, saying that the state’s judicial system already contained adequate protections for such defendants. Supporters of the bill disagreed, pointing to evidence indicating that at least a half-dozen prisoners with mental deficiencies had been executed since 1990.
Steven Rocket Rosen, who defended Mathis in his original trial, said there was “no excuse” for the actions of his client. But he said Mathis’s mental problems were severe and had been aggravated by heavy drug use from a young age.
According to court records, Mathis began smoking PCP and marijuana soaked in formaldehyde, known as “fry,” as early as age 12.