Court to explore competency claim of ailing Alabama inmate

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the case of an Alabama death row inmate who lawyers say suffers from dementia and can no longer remember killing a police officer in 1985.

Justices will hear arguments Tuesday on whether it would be unconstitutional to execute 68-year-old Vernon Madison. Madison was convicted of killing Mobile police officer Julius Schulte in 1985.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said death row prisoners must have a “rational understanding” that they are about to be executed and why.

Attorneys for Madison argue he is incompetent because he “does not remember the crime for which he has been convicted.”

The Alabama attorney general’s office will argue that while Madison’s health has declined, he understands his crime, conviction and sentence.

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