HOUSTON, TX (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Attorneys for a North Texas death row inmate who removed his only eye and ate it in a bizarre outburst several years ago are arguing to a federal appeals court that he’s too mentally ill to be executed.

Lawyers for Andre Thomas also contend his trial attorneys were deficient when a North Texas jury in 2005 convicted him of killing his estranged wife’s 13-month old daughter.

His estranged wife, Lauren Boren Thomas, and their 4-year-old son, Andre Jr., also were murdered in the March 2004 attack in Sherman, about 60 miles north of Dallas. All three were stabbed and their hearts ripped out.

According to court records, Thomas believed Andre Jr. was the anti-Christ and the 13-month old a related evil spirit.

Thomas gouged out his right eye after being arrested. He gouged out his remaining eye and ate it after being convicted.

A federal judge in 2016 rejected Thomas’ appeal and his attorneys took their case to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for arguments Tuesday on whether appeals can move forward.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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