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Court Rules State Can't Force Drugs on Louisiana Inmate

October 20, 1992| Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state cannot force an insane inmate to take drugs that will make him sane enough to be executed for the deaths of five of his relatives.

The 5-2 ruling came in the case of Michael Owen Perry, 37, a schizophrenic convicted of murdering his mother, father, nephew and two cousins in 1983 in the small Louisiana town of Lake Arthur.

The court affirmed that Perry is insane and thus incompetent to be executed.

According to medical records, Perry believes pop singer Olivia Newton-John is a goddess living under Lake Arthur.

At one time, he shaved his eyebrows so his brain could get more oxygen.

The ruling blocked Perry's execution but left the way open for another death date to be set if he regains his sanity without the use of drugs.

Forcing him to take drugs, however, would violate his rights to privacy and would be cruel and unusual punishment, the court said.

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