Convicted murderer Randall Mays found competent to be executed

Published: Oct. 3, 2017 at 2:03 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2017 at 7:51 PM CDT
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HENDERSON COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A Henderson County man found guilty of capital murder in the shooting death of two East Texas sheriff deputies, has been found competent to be executed.

Randall Mays was convicted of killing Henderson County Sheriff Deputy Tony Ogburn and Paul Habelt and seriously injuring Deputy Kevin Harris in May of 2007.

The ruling of competency was made by visiting Judge Joe Clayton, of Tyler and a date has not been set for Mays' execution.

Prior to the imminent execution scheduled for March 18, 2015, Mays filed a motion regarding competency to be executed.

According to court documents, Mays was examined by several doctors. What the court ultimately determined was that Mays' mental illness does not deprive him of his understanding. The court's findings were detailed in documents filed in Henderson County:

After consideration of all the credible evidence, the Court has concluded that Randall Mays has failed to meet his burden by a preponderance of the evidence, and the Court rules as follows:

  • Randall Mays is competent to be executed pursuant to TCCP Article 46.05 and the guidelines set forth in Panetti and Battaglia.
  • Randall Mays has a rational understanding that he is to be executed and that his execution is imminent.
  • Randall Mays has a rational understanding for the reason for which he will be executed.
  • While Randall Mays does have some form of mental illness, it does not deprive him of the rational understanding of the connection between his crime and the punishment received.

"Since Mr. Mays has been sitting on death row, he has not been diagnosed, treated or received prescribed medications for any mental illness or obsession that has any bearing on this inquiry," the court found.

During Mays' trial, jurors heard more than a week of testimony. It took jurors just under three hours to hand down Randall Mays' death sentence for the murder of Ogburn and Habelt. Mays was sentenced by Judge Carter Terrance to the death penalty by lethal injection after the death penalty was recommended by an Athens jury.

Mays initially entered a not guilty plea. In Mays' letter dated January 6, 2013, to his wife, he described the crime scene and provided specific details of the officers' actions. Also, less than a month prior to the original execution date of March 18, 2015, Mays wrote a detailed letter to his sister regarding the cost of necessary materials needed to build "the wood box" and gave information on where to obtain the supplies. In the same letter, he informed her of the burial plots purchased for the Mays family in Dunbar cemetery.

A 911 tape was played from the day of the shooting and pictures of the crime scene were also shown in court. At one point Mays became visibly shaken and began to weep during the proceedings.

The Court allowed the testimony of two mental health experts on the subject of Mays' state of mind during the shootings. They testified about Mays' paranoia and depression leading up to when he allegedly shot the Henderson County deputies.

It was also revealed in court that Mays' older brother, Noble Mays, was executed in 1995 for a capital murder offense.

The Henderson County District Attorney's Office confirmed to KLTV that on Monday Mays was found competent by a judge to be executed.

District Attorney Mark Hall, who was joined by First Assistant Nancy Rumar in arguing the competency case in August, released a statement saying that he believes the Judge made the correct call.

Hall intends to file a motion for the Court to set an execution date but anticipates that before it is carried out, Mays will make a motion that the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) review Judge Clayton's order and enter a judgment of whether to adopt the order, findings, and recommendations.

The CCA will determine whether any existing execution date should be withdrawn and a stay of execution issued while the court is conducting its review. Otherwise, the execution will be carried out as ordered.


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