Arkansas inmate cites mental illness in death penalty appeal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas death row inmate convicted of killing a state legislator’s daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia and should not be executed, his attorney told the state Supreme Court Thursday.

Justices heard arguments from the state and Karl Roberts over the inmate’s appeal of his conviction and death sentence in the 1999 killing of his 12-year-old niece, Andi Brewer. Brewer’s mother, state Rep. Rebecca Petty, has served in the Arkansas House since 2015.

Arkansas doesn’t have any executions scheduled and its supply of lethal injection drugs expired last year. The state has said it is not actively searching for lethal injection drugs.

An attorney for Roberts told justices that the inmate’s schizophrenia made him unable to effectively assist his defense attorneys during his 2000 trial because he believed that jailers were secretly recording him.

The state noted that experts during Roberts’ 2000 trial did not diagnose him with schizophrenia.