A Texas inmate on death row for the slayings of his family has appealed his conviction, arguing that he was denied a fair trial due to the presence of jurors who held prejudiced views on interracial marriage. However, the Supreme Court has declined to hear his case.
Andre Thomas, who cut out one of his eyeballs and ate it in prison, said he was tried by a biased jury in 2005 and given the death penalty for the murders of his ex-wife and their two children because God commanded him to.
Even though Thomas’s wife was white, he is a black man.
The defendant said that the all-white jury found him guilty because they were prejudiced against mixed-race families. The racist sentiment was shared by at least three respondents, with one purportedly writing on a form, “I think we should stay with our Blood Line.”
With a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court decided to dismiss Thomas’s appeal. Three liberal judges on the court wrote a dissenting opinion, claiming that Thomas’s death verdict and sentence should be overturned because his defense team did not try to exclude any of the three jurors.
Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the Supreme Court, said that “no jury determining whether to impose a death sentence should be compromised by potential racial biases that could infect its deliberations or conclusion,” especially in cases involving a crime involving more than one race. Sotomayor’s opinion was shared by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Officials from Texas petitioned the Supreme Court to reject Thomas’ appeal on the grounds that his lawyers had “extensively” questioned the jurors about their racial biases before the trial and concluded they could render a fair verdict.
Thomas’s prior appeals, which argued that he is mentally unfit to be executed, had been denied by lower courts.
According to the Texas Tribune, the convicted murderer’s attorney, Maurie Levin, said in a statement that his client had schizophrenia and active psychosis.
Levin said, “To pursue his execution would be nothing but an ugly spectacle and would not make Texans safer.” He argued that Thomas should serve the rest of his life in prison.
Thomas claimed God instructed him to murder Laura Christine Boren, 20, their 4-year-old son Andre Lee, and Boren’s 2-year-old daughter Leyha Marie Hughes.
To “set them free from wickedness,” he stabbed them to death and attempted to pull their hearts from their chests. His lawyer claims he attempted suicide by stabbing himself in the chest.