The Mississippi Supreme Court is ordering a trial court judge to determine whether a Mississippi death row inmate really wants to seek an execution date and whether the inmate is mentally capable of waiving their appeals in the case.
The state high court on Friday ordered that Blayde Nathaniel Grayson, 46, be taken to George County Circuit Court and sworn in to say if he wishes to proceed with his claim to the state to schedule its execution.
Grayson, who has been on death row for more than 24 years, said in a handwritten letter to the state Supreme Court in early December, “I demand that my execution be carried out immediately.” Grayson’s attorney, David Voisin, submitted a separate letter a few days later asking the judges to disregard Grayson’s request because Grayson still had an appeal pending in federal court.
Grayson had said in his letter that he wanted to end all his calls. He was convicted of capital murder in 1997 in the 1996 stabbing death of 78-year-old Minnie Smith in a burglary of her home in George County, southern Mississippi.
The state Supreme Court did not set a deadline for the rehearing in the George County Circuit Court.
On November 17, Mississippi carried out its first execution in nine years, giving a lethal injection to David Neal Cox, who waived all appeals and described himself as “worthy of death”. A northern Mississippi jury sentenced Cox to death after pleading guilty to killing his ex-wife and sexually assaulting his stepdaughter in front of her dying mother.
One of the state’s current Supreme Court Justices, David Ishee, represented Grayson at his trial and in some appeals from the conviction.