Judge: Death row inmate incompetent for execution

Published 1:43 am Sunday, November 8, 2009

A federal judge ruled this week that a man on Mississippi’s death row nearly 27 years is incompetent to be executed and should be sent to a state mental hospital.

James Billiot was sentenced to death in 1982 for the Thanksgiving Day 1981 bludgeoning death of his stepfather, 53-year-old Wallace Croll of Hancock County.

Billiot’s mother, 47-year-old Audrey Croll, and stepsister, 14-year-old Cheryl Ann Croll, were also killed with an 8-pound sledgehammer during a robbery at the Crolls’ home in the Leetown community.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Billiot, now 48, claimed on appeal that he shouldn’t be executed because of insanity.

Court records show U.S. District Judge Tom Lee ruled Tuesday that Billiot’s death sentence should be suspended and the inmate should be sent to the Mississippi State Hospital.