Andrew Reid Lackey: Anger Rises Over Execution Of Mentally Ill Prisoner

Andrew Reid Lackey was executed last week by the state of Alabama for the 2005 murder of an 80-year-old World War II veteran, but the controversy around his killing shows no signs of dissipating.

Lackey was convicted in 2008 of killing Charles Newman, his friend’s grandfather, in a robbery gone wrong. After the conviction Lackey dropped all appeals and asked that his execution be scheduled.

When Andrew Reid Lackey was brought to the execution chamber on Thursday, prison warden Gary Hetzell asked if Lackey had any last words.

“No sir, I don’t,” Lackey replied.

But in the wake of his execution, human rights groups have criticized the state of Alabama for killing a man they say was mentally ill. The Equal Justice Initiative, a prisoners’ rights group based out of Alabama, tried to argue that Andrew Reid Lackey was mentally ill and suicidal, living in what they called “Andrew land.”

The group tried to appeal to a judge, saying Lackey’s mental competency was not properly evaluated before the trial started and before he waived his right to appeal. It was denied.

Few are denying the shocking and violent nature of Lackey’s crime. On a 911 tape recording from Newman’s home at the time of the killing the 80-year-old is heard pleading with Lackey and trying to calm him down. Lackey is heard asking for the location of a vault.

Newman’s last words were: “Come sit down and let me pray for you.”

It seems that the groups trying to spare the execution were fighting an uphill battle. Andrew Reid Lackey chose not to use his legal appeals, instead writing to the Alabama Supreme Court last year and asking that his death sentence be carried out. A family member also intervened at Andrew’s request to speed up the execution.