Tennessee Death Row Inmate Dies of Natural Causes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- State correction officials say death row inmate Ricky Thompson has died of natural causes at the age of 57.

Department of Correction spokeswoman Dorinda Carter says Thompson died of apparent natural causes at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville around noon Wednesday.

He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and for a time was judged incompetent to stand trial.

Thompson had been on death row since 1992 after being convicted for shooting his wife with an assault rifle.

His murder conviction was recently upheld on appeal, but his death sentence was overturned after the state appellate court ruled that it was obvious that Thompson suffered from mental illness.

The state was awaiting appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court, keeping Thompson on death row.

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