Monday, August 13, 2007

Death sentence in Alabama

"Farron Barksdale will die in an Alabama prison," said the prosecutor when Barksdale was last week sentenced to life without parole.

Doubtful she knew how soon those words might come true.

Today Farron Barksdale is on life support. [UPDATE: Barksdale has since died.]

Prison is a notoriously terrible place for those with severe mental illnesses - and whether something happened to Barksdale during intake, as some reports indicate, or whether he succumbed to record-breaking heat in a facility with no air conditioning, the fact remains that Barksdale walked through the door of Kilby Correctional Facility and will come out in a hearse, whether it is this week or 50 years from now.

Barksdale, who has schizophrenia, had called 911 for help - when two officers pulled up in his mother's driveway, he brutally shot and killed them with a high-powered rifle. Records and Barksdale's attorneys indicate Barksdale believed microwaves were being aimed at his brain - in fact, he tore the cable out of his mother's home because of his belief "they" were using the wires and television to tap into his brain. At the request of Barksdale's mother, a probate judge had committed Barksdale to mental institutions five times previously. Yet he was off medication when the murders occurred.

Three people died because one man was not getting treatment.

Nice job, Alabama.

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