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.