A federal judge in Oklahoma City has issued a stay of execution for an Oklahoma inmate who was scheduled to die on Thursday.
Garry Allen, 56, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia but found sane by a jury considering whether he's eligible for the death penalty. According to the governor's office, federal courts have stayed Allen's execution to give him "adequate opportunity to litigate claims regarding competency."
Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office filed its notice of appeal Wednesday with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In the appeal, the state argues that courts have found Allen sane and that he's capable of understanding his execution is for the 1986 murder of Gail Titsworth.
Allen received a death sentence after he pleaded guilty to capital murder. Allen was charged in the 1986 death of Gail Titsworth, with whom he had two children. Titsworth had broken off the relationship with Allen three days before the murder and had sought a protective order. She was picking up their sons at a daycare when Allen shot her four times. When police arrived, he resisted arrest and was shot in the head, losing his eye.
Allen spent months in mental hospitals after his arrest to be treated for depression and his head injury. He was deemed competent at a 1987 hearing, but a decade later the Supreme Court ruled that Oklahoma's competency standards were too high. In the subsequent hearing, Allen was again ruled competent
Allen's attorneys have said his head injury caused mental impairments.
"Now they are trying to say he is not competent, but he did this," said Adrian Titsworth, the victim's son. "The gunshot wound was after the fact. We are kind of shaken up about it, we all were."
In 2005, the state Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 to commute Allen's sentence to life in prison, but Gov. Mary Fallin had decided to allow the execution to proceed.
Officials say Allen's last meal request was a large meat-lovers pizza and a Pepsi.