Originally created 06/26/04

Shooter requests stay of execution



COLUMBIA - A man sent to death row for killing two 8-year-old girls during a shooting spree at a Greenwood elementary school has asked the state Supreme Court to stop his execution because he is not mentally competent.

Jamie Wilson lost his final formal appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week, but an execution date has not been set.

Mr. Wilson was sentenced to death after pleading guilty but mentally ill for killing the girls and injuring seven other pupils and two teachers at Oakland Elementary School in 1988.

In all his appeals, Mr. Wilson's lawyers have argued that his mental illness kept him from understanding that what he was doing at the school was wrong.

Five months before the shooting, Mr. Wilson was released from the psychiatric unit at Self Memorial Hospital when his father's insurance could no longer pay. Relatives said Mr. Wilson stopped taking antidepressants.

On death row, inmates say they often have to clean up after Mr. Wilson, who soils himself.

In the latest filing, defense lawyer John Blume asked the justices to halt Mr. Wilson's execution because he does not understand the nature of his sentence.

Mr. Blume wants a judge to hold a post-conviction relief hearing to determine whether the 35-year-old is mentally competent.

In their reply, lawyers from the state attorney general's office offered several examples from prison staff that they say show Wilson knows what is happening in his case.