Richard Taylor

A Tennessee jury took only 2 hours to convict and another hour to sentence Richard Taylor to death. Taylor suffers from mental illness and defended himself. The trial took place 19 years after Taylor's original 1984 death sentence, which was set aside because he had inadequate representation and his complex mental-health history had not been fully investigated. In the years since that ruling, Taylor has been deemed incompetent to stand trial, but a judge recently ruled that Taylor could be retried for the crime if he took his anti-psychotic medications and was able to understand the legal proceedings against him. Before his trial, Taylor told reporters for The Tennessean that he hoped to be convicted in the belief that he would be allowed to stop taking the medications that he claims are fogging his mind, turning him into a woman and silencing the singing voices in his head. This belief continued as Taylor represented himself in the proceedings without any assistance from lawyers. Taylor - who suffers from borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia - put on no evidence, presented no closing argument, and wore sunglasses throughout the proceedings. He offered the jury no explanations or mitigating factors to consider before they sentenced him to death. (The Tennessean, October 17, 2003)