Texas will execute killer who buried his mother

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has provided an undated photograph of Tracy Beatty, a death row inmate. via the Associated Press and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

A Texas inmate, whose lawyers allege he has a history of mental illness, is due to be killed on Wednesday for murdering and burying his mother in her backyard more than two decades ago.

Tracy Beatty, age 61, is slated to be executed on Wednesday evening at the state jail in Huntsville. In November 2003, after an argument, he strangled his mother Carolyn Click to death in her East Texas home.

The investigators claim that Beatty buried his mother near her mobile home in Whitehouse, roughly 115 miles southeast of Dallas, and then spent her money on drugs and booze.

The counsel for Beatty have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to postpone his execution on the grounds that he is being denied a complete evaluation to determine if he is intellectually deficient and hence ineligible for execution. He had three previous execution dates.

Beatty’s defenders have requested that he not be handcuffed for mental health assessments at the state prison. To make an informed conclusion regarding Beatty’s intellectual disability and mental health examination, the professionals assert that he must be uncuffed for neurological and other tests.

One expert who examined Beatty stated that he is “clearly psychotic and has a complex paranoid delusional belief system” and that he lives in a “complex delusional world” where he believes there is a “vast conspiracy of correctional officers who… ‘torture’ him via a device in his ear so he can hear their menacing voices,” according to Beatty’s attorneys’ petition to the Supreme Court.

In 2021, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, citing security and liability concerns, introduced an informal policy requiring a court order for a prisoner to be unrestrained during an expert examination.

Beatty’s request for an examination without handcuffs was denied by federal judges in East Texas, Houston, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. New Orleans’s Court of Appeals for the Circuit. The federal court of appeals referred to Beatty’s plea as a “delay technique.” U.S. District Court Judge Charles Eskridge called the plea a “delay tactic.” Last Thursday, the District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston questioned why Beatty’s counsel had not brought a mental health claim over years of appeals and declared that having handcuffs during a mental health evaluation is “quite simply a justifiable security issue.”

According to the Death Sentence Information Center, the Supreme Court has prohibited the death penalty for individuals with intellectual disability, but not for those with serious mental illness.

In 2019, the Texas legislature considered a bill that would have prohibited the execution of mentally ill individuals. The legislation was not passed.

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected reducing Beatty’s death sentence to a lesser sentence or giving a six-month reprieve by an overwhelming majority.

According to prosecutors, Beatty’s relationship with his mother was “volatile and antagonistic.” Lieanna Wilkerson, a neighbor, testified that Click told her that Beatty had previously abused her multiple times, including once when he “hit her so violently that he left her for dead.” However, according to Wilkerson, Click was eager for Beatty to move back in with her in October 2003 so they could rebuild their relationship.

According to testimony from Beatty’s 2004 trial, mother and son argued on a daily basis, and Click asked her son to leave twice, including just before she was slain.

Wilkerson claimed that Beatty stated on multiple occasions that he wanted to suffocate her to silence her.

If Beatty is executed this year, he will be the fourth inmate to be executed in Texas and the thirteenth in the United States. Texas will carry out one more execution next week, which will be the final execution in the state in 2022.