ATMORE, Ala. (WALA) — A death row inmate who killed a Mobile police officer 35 years ago died over the weekend in prison.
The Alabama Department of Corrections said Vernon Madison, 69, passed away at Holman Correctional Facility on Saturday, February 22.
Madison killed Officer Julius Schulte in April 1985. Schulte was in his patrol car when Madison ambushed him and shot him in the back of the head.
He was convicted and sentenced to die, but avoided execution several times as his attorneys argued that strokes Madison suffered in prison left him with severe dementia. His attorneys argued that Madison did not remember killing Schulte and did not understand why he was on death row.
The Supreme Court of the United States has previously said the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment means that people who are insane, delusional or psychotic cannot be executed.
In reviewing Madison’s case in February 2019, the court appeared willing to extend protection from capital punishment to people with dementia who can’t recall their crime or understand the circumstances of their execution.