Execution date set for Alabama death row inmate, convicted in 1985 Mobile police officer's slaying
The Alabama Supreme Court has set an execution date for a man convicted of killing a Mobile cop more than 30 years ago.
Last week, the court issued an order setting Vernon Madison's execution date for Thursday, January 25. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled Alabama can execute Madison-- who claimed to be mentally incompetent and was granted a stay of execution in 2016.
Madison, 66, is one of Alabama's longest-serving death row inmates. He was convicted in the April 1985 slaying of Mobile police officer Cpl. Julius Schulte.
In May 2016, Madison was set to die by lethal injection, but hours after the scheduled execution the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling upholding a lower court's stay. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed that decision, meaning Madison is competent and can be executed.
Madison faced a state competency hearing before his scheduled 2016 execution, where he claimed several strokes he recently suffered affected his mental status and made him unable to remember his crimes or remember that he was on death row. The trial court denied Madison's petition, and said the execution could proceed.
Later, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Madison was incompetent and he could not be executed.
Madison was 34-years-old when he was charged in the April 18, 1985, shooting of Schulte, who was responding to a domestic disturbance call. Madison also was charged with shooting the woman he lived with at the time, Cheryl Greene.
Greene recovered from her injuries and later testified that there had been "increased tension" between her and Madison. She said Schulte hadn't pulled a gun or even threatened Madison.
"Vernon had been for several weeks in a very agitated state," she said during a 1985 hearing. "He was not communicating well with me at that point, or with anyone. He seemed angry about everything. Vernon's sister was murdered Feb. 26. She was buried a week later. From that point on he remained agitated. He was not acting rationally anymore."
Madison was convicted and sentenced to death in both 1985 and 1990, but both times an appellate court sent the case back-- first for a violation involving race-based jury selection, and then based on improper testimony from an expert witness for the prosecution. In 1994, Madison was tried for a third time and convicted.
The jury recommended a life sentence, but the judge overrode the recommendation and sentenced him to death. Earlier this year, the state legislature threw out the judicial override law, but kept the rule allowing juries to send prisoners to death on a 10-2 vote.
Attorneys from the Equal Justice Initiative are representing Madison. Before his first execution date in 2016, his attorneys argued Madison should not be executed because the judicial override law has since been thrown out, and because several strokes and dementia left Madison unable to understand his situation. www.al.com