Feb. 25 (UPI) -- An Alabama inmate who spent more than 30 years on death row has died, one year after the Supreme Court ruled he should be spared execution because of dementia, his lawyers announced.
Vernon Madison died over the weekend at Holman Prison in Atmore, Ala., at the age of 69, the Equal Justice Initiative said. He was one of the longest-serving inmates on death row in Alabama.
A prison spokesperson said an autopsy was pending but no foul play was suspected in Madison's death.
Madison's lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, the EJI's executive director, argued before the Supreme Court last year that his client shouldn't face execution after a series of strokes left him with dementia. Madison was unable to remember his crime and told his lawyers he planned to move to Florida.
The high court sided with Madison, saying that to execute him would violate the Eighth Amendment, which says inmates must be able to rationally understand their punishment in order to be executed.
An Alabama judge sentenced Vernon Madison to death in 1994 for the shooting death of Mobile police Cpl. Julius Schulte in 1985. The jury in the case recommended he receive life in prison.
Since his sentencing, the Alabama legislature banned the practice of judges overruling juries' life sentences.