Death row inmate Wade Greely Lay may get execution delay because of competency questions

·3 min read

McALESTER — Death row inmate Wade Greely Lay has delusions that the true reason for his upcoming execution is to silence him from voicing beliefs that would spark a revolution, a psychologist has reported.

"Mr. Lay has a severe mental illness — schizophrenia — which adversely impacts his ability to rationally understand his current situation or his pending execution," the expert, Richart DeMier, wrote in a report. "It is my opinion that he is not competent to be executed at this time."

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The execution table and witness chairs are shown in this image from a video released by the Oklahoma Corrections Department. The first execution in Oklahoma in more than six years was carried out Oct. 28.
The execution table and witness chairs are shown in this image from a video released by the Oklahoma Corrections Department. The first execution in Oklahoma in more than six years was carried out Oct. 28.

Lay, 60, is scheduled to be executed Jan. 6 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, but a delay is likely.

A Pittsburg County judge on Tuesday ordered the warden to commence proceedings that will lead to a jury trial over the issue of Lay's mental state.

Associate District Judge Tim Mills ruled the warden abused his discretion by not acting after getting DeMier's report.

Lay is now asking for a stay of his execution until after his competency trial and any appeals are over. His attorney, Sarah Jernigan, said it would violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment to carry out the execution now.

“Mr. Lay’s delusions are well-known and have been apparent to everyone who interacts with him for decades," she said.

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Why is Wade Greely Lay facing execution?

Lay was sentenced to death for fatally shooting a Tulsa bank guard during an attempted robbery in 2004. His son was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the deadly gun battle.

Attorney General John O'Connor called Lay a domestic terrorist.

"He murdered Kenneth Anderson, security guard at MidFirst Bank, as part of an effort to obtain funds to avenge the government's actions in the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and at Ruby Ridge," the attorney general and an assistant told the judge in a legal brief.

They conceded Lay has antigovernment views outside the mainstream.

"This does not equate to insanity," they wrote. "After all, Timothy McVeigh — who killed 168 people — was competent, as are many other persons with antigovernment sentiments."

McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 in retaliation for government actions against the Davidians in 1993 and white separatist Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992.

DeMier examined Lay in 2011 and again this year.

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Wade Greely Lay
Wade Greely Lay

The psychologist reported Lay has grandiose beliefs that he has unique legal insights and could have stopped hurricanes and tornadoes if given enough time and resources.

He once talked with a former attorney about how Satan, disguised as an alien, had contacted the government powerbrokers, according to the report.

“Mr. Lay's persecutory delusions center around false beliefs that there is a conspiracy among courts and possibly his attorneys to use his execution to ‘silence him’ so that his explanations about the U.S. Constitution and the proper form of U.S. government do not come to light," the psychologist wrote.

“He believes that powerful interests, including wealthy individuals and people in high levels of government, would be harmed by his revelations, and thus, they are motivated to ensure that he has no forum to air his views.

”He noted that his current execution date of January 6, 2022, may have been chosen by God for its symbolic importance, given that is the one-year anniversary of the intrusion at the U.S. Capitol Building."

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Competency questions could delay Oklahoma death row inmate's execution

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