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Judge: Inmate too mentally ill to be executed

Posted July 1, 2008

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— A Superior Court judge has determined that a Stanly County man on death row for carrying out a murder-for-hire is delusional and shouldn't be executed.

Guy Tobias LeGrande was sentenced to death in 1996 for his role in the slaying of Ellen Munford in a scheme masterminded by her husband.

LeGrande represented himself at trial, rambling incoherently and cursing jurors, officials said. He refused to cooperate with court-appointed attorneys, convinced they were out to get him.

Psychiatrists who examined LeGrande in recent years determined that he suffers from a mental illness and is prone to delusions. He refused to acknowledge his Dec. 1, 2006, execution date, believing he would be pardoned and given a multimillion-dollar settlement from the state.

Judge W. Robert Bell issued a ruling Friday that LeGrande is mentally ill and cannot be executed under state law.

"The gross delusions stemming from Mr. LeGrande's severe mental disorder puts an awareness of a link between his crime and its punishment in a context so far removed from reality that the punishment can serve no proper purpose," Bell wrote in his 10-page decision.

“Guy LeGrande was delusional at the time of the crime, he was delusional while representing himself in his own trial for his life, and he is (still) delusional,” Jay Ferguson, one of LeGrande's court-appointed lawyers, said in a statement. “The court has finally stepped in and halted a colossal miscarriage of justice, the execution of a seriously mentally ill man.”

The ruling places an indefinite stay on the execution but doesn't remove LeGrande from death row, officials said. The decision could be reversed if state law were to change or LeGrande were deemed competent in the future.

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  • Yelena Jul 2, 2008

    "The gross delusions stemming from Mr. LeGrande's severe mental disorder puts an awareness of a link between his crime and its punishment in a context so far removed from reality that the punishment can serve no proper purpose," Bell wrote in his 10-page decision.

    Isn't the proper purpose of the death penalty to render the murder dead? One would think, that regardless of the mental status of the criminal, it would still be 100% effective in rendering this individual dead as a door nail.

  • ohmygosh Jul 2, 2008

    Dillusional? He predicted his own stay of execution. Guess what, the judge gave it to him. Perhaps he is not so insane after all.

  • Trivr Jul 1, 2008

    If he knew it was wrong when he did it, then he should be on death row. Death sentence isn't a deterrent, it's justice.

  • doodad Jul 1, 2008

    What sain person would murder another human being anyway.

  • raglangr Jul 1, 2008

    Solid ruling by the Judge.

  • scoutmcmahon Jul 1, 2008

    I have been reading Delfino and Day's latest book about capital punishment crimes that resulted in state sponsored executions and find that about a third of all the convicted inmates are mentally ill to some degree. That being said, I'm uncertain how the death penalty is supposed to deter crime if for example the would be murderer is insane before he commits the crime. Sounds like a catch 22 to me and we'd be better off just keeping convicted killers in prison for the rest of their life crazy or not.

  • ncrebel Jul 1, 2008

    enoughsenough........you said it. It's sad that people who are stable get murdered have no rights when it comes to the murderer, who happens to be a few bricks shy, can't be excuted. I think we've got things backwards.

  • nathanius Jul 1, 2008

    I'm about to get medieval on you guys. I think we as a society should re-examine whether or not mental illness should exempt people from the death penalty/life in prison. I personally think it is irrelevant to the sentence. People should get psychiatric care while serving time IN PRISON! I am not against psychaitric unit in prison, not to be coddled in a hospital. If you have the mental capacity or the lack thereof mental capacity to kill someone, you should be punished, mentally ill or not! Your IQ is irrelevant when you murder someone.

  • lauraleigh Jul 1, 2008

    Well, it's a heckuva lot less expensive to just put one on Life Without Parole than it is to go for Death - shame they couldn't have saved the State hundreds of thousands of dollars by ruling that in the first place.

    And that doesn't even address the philosophical issue of whether the death penalty is true justice....

  • enoughsenough Jul 1, 2008

    Too bad one can't be too mentally ill to be murdered.