A look at mental illness and the death penalty:
“The doctor would later testify that Andre was ‘really mentally ill,’ as if to stress that this wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill crazy person. And then there was this detail from the physician’s records: “Thomas,” he wrote, “is psychotic. He thinks something like Holodeck on Star Trek is happening to him.” If you don’t know what that is, and there is no good reason you should, a holodeck is a simulated reality facility—a place where nothing is real.
“Finally, the patient wanted to know whether he had volunteered for his life, or been forced to live it. Maybe that was the final straw. The doctor referred Andre to the hospital’s mental health unit and filled out an emergency detention order to hold him against his will. But while staffers waited for a judge to sign the order, Andre simply wandered off. The hospital called the police, but there’s no evidence that officers went looking for him at the home of Andre’s mother or any of his other relatives. The next time they saw him, he was walking into the Sherman police station to confess to killing his family.”