Vernon Madison, one of the oldest men on Alabama death row, dies in prison

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ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — A death row inmate convicted of killing a Mobile police officer in 1985 died in prison over the weekend.

On Monday, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed Vernon Madison, 69, of Mobile, died Saturday at Holman Correctional Facility. Madison’s cause of death is pending a full autopsy. However, no foul play is suspected.

Madison was convicted in the 1985 killing of Mobile police Ofc. Julius Schulte. However, over the years, Madison suffered a number of strokes and later developed vascular dementia, claiming to not remember killing Schulte or being sentenced for the crime.

Originally scheduled for execution in 2016, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted Madison a stay and ruled that he was too incompetent to be executed because he did not understand what he would be executed for and that doing so would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Although the Supreme Court later reversed the decision at the time, they would end up granting Madison another stay in January 2018. On Feb. 27, 2019, the court ruled 5-3 in favor of Madison, adding that he and others with dementia were protected by the Eighth Amendment.

“Mr. Madison’s case brought national attention to the plight of aging prisoners with dementia when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor that the Eighth Amendment bars the execution of prisoners rendered incompetent because of dementia,” the Equal Justice Initiative wrote in a statement announcing Madison’s death Monday.

More information will be available upon the conclusion of the investigation into Madison’s death.


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