A Texas inmate, whose lawyers say he has a history of mental illness, faced the death penalty on Wednesday for killing his mother and burying her body in her backyard nearly 20 years ago.
Tracy Beatty, 61, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Wednesday evening at the state prison in Huntsville. In November 2003, he was sentenced to death for strangling his mother, Carolyn Click, at their East Texas home.
Authorities say Beatty buried the body of his 62-year-old mother near her mobile home in the Whitehouse, about 115 miles southeast of Dallas, then spent her money on drugs and alcohol.
BT’s lawyers have asked the US Supreme Court to stay his scheduled execution, arguing that he is being prevented from obtaining a full examination to determine whether he is intellectually incapacitated and possibly Unfit for the death penalty. He has three prior execution dates.
His lawyers have requested that state prison authorities allow BT to go uncaught during a mental health assessment by experts. Experts argue that BT being undetected during neurological and other tests is important for making an informed decision about intellectual disability and evaluating one’s mental health.
An expert examining Beatty said that he is “apparently psychic and has a complex paranoid delusional belief system” and that he lives in a “complex delusional world” where he believes “reformers The authorities have a grand conspiracy … ‘torture’ him through a device in his ear so that he can hear their alarming voice,” Beatty’s lawyers wrote in their Supreme Court petition.
In 2021, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, citing safety and liability concerns, enacted an unofficial policy that would only allow an inmate to be evicted during an expert evaluation via a court order.
Federal judges in East Texas and Houston and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans previously ruled against Beatty’s request for an evaluation of the handcuffs. The federal appeals court called BT’s request a “delay strategy.” Last week, US District Judge Charles Eskridge in Houston questioned why Beatty’s lawyers had not made any claims related to his mental health during the appeals years, saying the need for handcuffs during such an assessment was “quite simply, a rational one.” Security is a concern.”
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the Supreme Court has stayed the death penalty for persons with intellectual disabilities, but has not stayed such punishment for those with severe mental illness.
The Texas Legislature considered a bill in 2019 that would have prohibited the death penalty for anyone with serious mental illness. The law was not passed.
On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously declined to commute Beatty’s death sentence to a lesser sentence or grant six months of respite.
According to prosecutors, Beatty had an “unstable and belligerent relationship” with his mother. A neighbor, Liana Wilkerson, testified that Klick reported that her BT had assaulted her several times in the past, including once when he had “beat her so badly that he left her dead. ” But Wilkerson said that Klick was still excited to be back with Beatty in October 2003 so they could mend their relationship.
But mother and son argued daily, and Klick asked her son to move out twice, including just before he was killed, as evidenced by Beatty’s 2004 trial.
“Many times[Beatty]said that he just wanted to silence her, that he just wanted to strangle her and lock her up,” Wilkerson testified.
If Beatty is hanged, he will be the fourth in Texas this year to be sentenced to death and the 13th in the US. Another execution in Texas – the last execution in the state in 2022 – is scheduled for next week.