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1999-08-17

The Mother of a Paranoid Schizophrenic Man Scheduled for Execution in Texas Today Appeals for His Life

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A Texas court yesterday refused to grant a stay of execution to Larry Robison, a paranoid schizophrenic on death row who is scheduled for execution this evening at 6pm Texas time. Robison’s lawyer, Melodee Smith, had petitioned the courts for a 30-day delay to have his mental state evaluated.

Robison confessed to killing five people in August of 1982. His lawyers and his family have maintained that he was severely mentally ill at the time, prompting calls for mercy from Pope John Paul II and from several mental health organizations. While his victims’ family members have rejected the insanity argument, Robison’s family says that the state refused to commit him to a hospital for treatment before the crimes, and he was released from several public hospitals before he went on a killing spree. And mental health advocates have pointed out that while Texas spends an average of $2 million in capital trials, it ranks 49th in the country for mental health spending.

This would be the 100th execution for Texas Governor George W. Bush since he took office. Bush has not taken action in any of the 99 executions that have so far been carried out since he was sworn into office in January of 1995. Texas may break its own record of executions this month–six have been scheduled for August, and three of them have already been carried out, including that of a mentally retarded man.

We are joined by Lois Robison, the mother of Larry Robison, who for the past 16 years has fought for his son’s life. She joins us from Huntsville, Texas–where she is about to visit her son for what may be the last time.

Guest:

  • Lois Robison, mother of Larry Robison.

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