Jury Selection Begins For Convicted Killer’s Competency Hearing

Jury selection started Monday for a hearing to determine whether a convicted Texas killer is mentally competent to be returned to death row after an appeals court reversed his sentence.

Kenneth Dewayne Thomas (Jail photo)

DALLAS (July 7, 2014) Jury selection started Monday in Dallas for a hearing to determine if a man whose 1987 death sentence was reversed is mentally competent to be returned to death row.

Kenneth Dewayne Thomas, 53, was convicted of capital murder in an attack in which Fred Finch, 66, a prominent Dallas civil rights activist, and his wife Mildred, 64, were stabbed dozens of times during home burglary in 1986.

In 2010, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out Thomas' death sentence, agreeing with lawyers who argued that in 1987 jurors had no way to consider mitigating evidence of the inmate’s low intelligence, brain damage and mental illness when considering punishment.

If jurors now find Thomas is mentally competent, another jury has already been impaneled for his punishment retrial.

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