Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Ward's attorney, Scott Braden, an assistant federal public defender, issued this statement:
"Bruce Ward was convicted of capital murder in 1990 and the State Supreme Court has previously upheld his conviction. The Court granted a stay of Ward's scheduled execution today but offered no reason for doing so. Attorney General Rutledge is evaluating options on how to proceed."
“We are grateful that the Arkansas Supreme Court has issued a stay of execution for Bruce Ward so that they may consider the serious questions presented about his sanity. He deserves a day in court for that, but in Arkansas the rules do not permit that. Instead, they give the power to director of the department of corrections to decide whether the department can execute someone or not. That is both unfair and unconstitutional.Ward, 61, was sentenced to die in Pulaski County in 1990. He's been described as having severe schizophrenia and having delusions. His lawsuit seeking to stop the execution quoted medical authorities as saying his prolonged incarceration in isolation had contributed to his condition.
“The United States Supreme Court requires that a death row prisoner be competent for execution, that is, have a rational understanding of the punishment he is about to suffer and the reason why he is to suffer it. (Ford v. Wainwright and Panetti v. Quarterman). Mr. Ward’s severe and life long schizophrenia and delusions, such as seeing demon dogs at the foot of his bed, have left him incompetent for execution under the constitutional standard: he has no rational understanding of the punishment he is slated to suffer or the reason why he is to suffer it. In fact, he does not believe he will ever be executed and believes he will walk out of prison a free man to great acclaim and riches. His nearly three decades in solitary confinement have only worsened his severe mental illness.”
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