This is Andre Thomas; in March of 2004, Andre was losing his sanity. He’d become obsessed with religion, had been hearing voices for the past few months, and experiencing hallucinations involving God and demons. He tried to commit suicide a couple of times, just 2 days before he did the unthinkable Andre was in the ER for a suicide attempt. He really wanted to go to heaven, but to his dismay, he just kept on surviving.
Andre truly believed that God was speaking to him. God had told him to kill his 20 year old wife, Laura, their 4 year old son, Andre jr, and his 13 month old step daughter, Leyha. He believed them all to be evil, and that his own son and namesake was the antichrist. God had told Andre to use different knives for each of his victims, so as not to contaminate the blood; contamination would allow the demons inside of the victims to survive.
So, Andre went to his wife’s home – they were estranged and Laura had moved on. He walked in, and stabbed his wife to death first; then he took the lives of the two young children. Each of these victims were stabbed over and over again; they suffered terrible, savage deaths. Then Andre carved out the children’s hearts, and stuffed them into his pockets. Instead of his wife’s heart, Andre mistakenly cut out a chunk of her lungs, and this went in his pocket as well. Andre then attempted to kill humor once again, he stabbed himself in the chest, but as before he continued to survive.
Andre phoned his victim’s parents and left a message; “Um, Sherry, this is Andre. I need y’alls help, something bad is happening to me and it keeps happening and I don’t know what’s going on. I need some help, I think I’m in hell. I need help. Somebody needs to come and help me. I need help bad. I’m desperate. I’m afraid to go to sleep. So when you get this message, come by the house, please. Hello?” He confessed to police, and was talent to surgery to stitch up his chest wound. He was quickly brought up on murder charges. 5 days later, Andre plucked out his right eye – instead of placing this body part into his pocket as before, he ate it.
Despite all of this downright craziness, the state of Texas deemed Andre sane enough to stand trial. The fact that the defendant’s family has a lengthy history of mental illnesses was not even mentioned during the trial, and maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. The court said he was suffering from substance abuse, not mental illness – because you know, mental illness and addiction don’t go hand in hand. He was convicted and sentenced to death on November 3rd of 2005. Andre attempted suicide again, he slit his own throat but once again he survived. Since he couldn’t successfully murder himself, in December of 2008, he plucked out his other eye, and it went down the hatch as well.
Andre’s attorneys are still fighting with appeals, there trying to have the man deemed insane. So far they’ve had no luck; he’s still sitting on Texas Death Row at the Jester IV Unit in Richmond. His attorneys are arguing that this type of punishment does not work on the mentally ill. The state’s argument is this, and this is a quote: “Applicant is clearly crazy, but he is also sane under Texas law.”. The state claims that Andre made himself “crazy” by choosing to abuse drugs – marijuana, alcohol, and cold pills, at a young age.
Andre’s guilt is not in question, he definitely committed those horrible murders; he has freely admitted to it. But why do we even have the insanity defense if “crazy” people like Andre are not eligible? If Andre doesn’t fit the bill, who does? No, of course people like Andre should not be free, but wouldn’t he be better off in a mental institution? It’s not like it would cost more – putting someone to death is unbelievably expensive..
*I usually research and write these cases while doing my best to keep my opinion out of it. I’ve found that a writer’s opinion can persuade their audience, and that isn’t what I like to do; I enjoy discussion, and I want to hear your different opinions. I apologize because this is one of those cases which I just can’t keep my own opinion out of, you can obviously tell where I stand. As the reader you are always more than welcome to disagree with me if you like – I only ask that discussion of civil. I also want to make it known that I’m absolutely not against the death penalty, I do believe that some killers deserve death, I just do not believe it should be an option when the truly mentally ill are involved. This is, in my opinion, cruel and unusual punishment – but again, its only my opinion.
* For those of y’all following along with my personal life, this is an update. Y’all know I’ve been grieving like crazy after losing my brother, I can barely even think, I wake up screaming in the middle of the night, it’s been a nightmare. So, I am not a tattoo person; I only had one, a tiny one which hurt so badly I swore I’d never get another, but I decided that I wanted a small remembrance tattoo on my wrist where I could see it constantly. A pair of boxing gloves just 2-3 inches with the word “brother” written on the gloves somewhere – my brother was a boxer, he was (aside from my husband) the toughest man I’ve ever known, and this was the most perfect way I could think of to permanently remember him. I mentioned on my personal Facebook page that I would eventually be getting said tattoo and a friend of mine offered to pay! I contacted every tattoo shop in Southwest Florida and the cheapest I could find was $150 – the highest was $350. Then a man wrote me back, he was the owner of “Mpire Tattoo & Ink Company”. This man quoted me $70 and gave me an appointment for the very next day! I couldn’t believe it, the place is a highly respectable tattoo parlor with amazing reviews! For $70 my artist, Eric, added a cross instead of a nail to hang the boxing gloves strings on, he added a banner which read “R.I.P. BROTHER” and my tattoo is not 2 or 3 inches – it’s 5 or 6! I was treated so well, comforted when I cried, and the owner himself came in to give me a hug. When we left, said owner gave not only myself but also my cousin Cody (his father has cancer and it’s not looking good, he’s wanting to get some work as well) both $25 gift certificates towards our next tattoos. I’m just blown away, I never expected to find such love and compassion from a tattoo shop! If you’re ever in Southwest Florida, check these guys out. They’re absolutely amazing, I just can’t praise them enough!