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Executing the Mentally Ill

The voices and hallucinations began to plague James Colburn when he was a teenager. Diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, he received only sporadic treatment (his family depleted their savings in an effort to help him), spent time in and out of mental hospitals, and attempted suicide over a dozen times. One night in 1994, while racked with hallucinations that told him to harm himself and others, James Colburn strangled and stabbed Peggy Murphy to death. On March 26, the state of Texas is scheduled to execute him by lethal injection.

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