The State of Tennessee wanted to execute another mentally ill inmate - Paul Dennis Reid

Reid's Execution Date was Set for April 29, 2003...Just minutes before being taken to the execution chamber, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Stayed Paul Reid's Execution.

Read a letter about Reid's Case History, handwritten by Paul Reid himself...  (click here)

Paul Dennis Reid, 46 year-old death-row inmate at Riverbend Maximum Security Institute in Nashville, Tennessee is scheduled for a April 29, 2003 execution.

At the age of seven, when Paul Dennis Reid, Jr. first began going to school, a psychologist described him as suffering from "minimal cerebral dysfunction."

Court documents establish that Paul Reid had suffered multiple head injuries during his life. At the age of five, he was hit in the head with a brick. In 1971, he was hospitalized for some time after fracturing his skull in a mini-bike accident. In another childhood accident, Paul smashed his head into the windshield of a car that hit him while riding his bike. Another head injury occurred when he once slipped at work and hit his head. In 1990, he suffered a concussion and loss of consciousness as the result of an automobile accident.

In May of 1997, Paul attended his father's funeral wearing a lime green shirt, shorts and tennis shoes and refused to change at the request of his sisters. His sister Janet described in court documents that her brother also wore a "Burger King Crown" on his head and called himself "King Paul."

Paul Dennis Reid, Jr. suffers from speech and language problems, which are characteristic of persons with traumatic brain injuries. Medical evidence establish that Paul has severe brain damage, particularly in the left frontal lobe of his brain. Paul suffers a significant mental disorder from this acquired brain damage. 

Medical and school records show that since birth Paul has suffered from damage to his left temporal lobe and a malformation to his left ear. Evidence has provided that Paul has been diagnosed with psychosis since, at least 1978.  With an IQ in the 80s Paul Reid suffers from delusions, cognitive disorder, personality changes, anti-social personality disorder, and paranoid schizophrenia, continuous type . 

"MRI" and "PET" scans reveal that the left side of his brain is atrophed and not functioning properly. Dr. Xavier Amador, a clinical psychologist employed by Columbia University and the New York Psychiatric Institute states that Paul's mental illness, his "broken brain," render him ill-equipped to deal with reality. Paul has taken at least eight different anti-psychotic drugs for his mental disorders, but he still believes that he is under government surveillance from which they have been conducting secret experiments on his brain.



Paul Dennis Reid, Jr., convicted of killing two Captain D's workers in 1997, and now he wants to skip his post-conviction appeals. Here, he listens to attorneys Mike Engle and David Baker at a 1998 hearing.

File photo (Memphis - Commercial Appeal)


Paul Dennis Reid says the composite drawings of the suspect in the McDonald's and Captain D's slayings do not match his appearance. Reid, convicted of seven murders, is scheduled for execution Tuesday, April 29, 2003.

ROBERT SMITH / THE LEAF-CHRONICLE              (The Tennessean, April 24, 2003)

Reid is scheduled to be executed for the February 1997 murders of two Nashville, Tennessee Captain D employees (Sarah Jackson, 16 and Steve Hampton, 25). On November 26, 2002, the Supreme Court of Tennessee affirmed Reid's death sentence for the two Captain D's killings. On March 24, 2003, Paul Reid asked the Supreme Court of Tennessee that all appeals of his death sentence be abandoned.

In abandoning his automatic appeals, Reid wrote a two-page handwritten letter to the Court stating that he no longer has confidence in the judicial system. But, since Tennessee law allows all death row Inmates automatic post-conviction appeals as part of the "fairness safeguards" established by the state constitution and law, Paul Dennis Reid's request to discontinue all remaining appeals should not be legally accepted by the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Paul Dennis Reid, Jr.  was also convicted and sentenced to death for the killing of three people in March 1997 at a Nashville McDonald's Restaurant and additional death sentences for the killing of  two employees in  a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Parlor in Clarksville, Tennessee in April 1997. Automatic appeals are still ongoing in those cases.

Court documents in the Captain D's murders disclose that: "There is no physical evidence in this case that establish the Petitioner's [Paul Dennis Reid's] identity as the perpetrator." The Supreme Court of the United States reverses convictions based upon insufficient evidence when No rational trier of fact could have found the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt (see Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979).

So, why hasn't the Supreme Court of Tennessee upheld the law?


Read the handwritten letter that Paul Reid wrote to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which officially dropped all of his appeals... (click here)


ETCASK Vigil for Reid


Contact and urge State Legislators to support a Moratorium on the Death Penalty in Tennessee and/or write:

Tennessee Governor Bredesen:
Governor's Office
Tennessee State Capitol
Nashville, TN 37243-0001
Phone: 615.741.2001



The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts has published "Capital Punishment in Tennessee: A Brief Timeline History & Overview of the Legal Process." This overview includes a simple explanation of the capital punishment appeals process in Tennessee.

Please urge your elected officials not to kill Paul Dennis Reid on your behalf.

READ: Abstract of the Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman Case

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"Executing the Mentally Ill: A Tennessee Tradition"

Article submitted to The Tennessean' Nashville Eye Commentary