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Texas executes 'low IQ' prisoner

Texas executes 'low IQ' prisoner

Wed August 8, 2012 11:09am

A Texas man convicted of killing a police informant has been executed after the US Supreme Court rejected arguments that he was too mentally impaired to qualify for the death penalty.

A Texas man convicted of killing a police informant has been executed after the US Supreme Court rejected arguments that he was too mentally impaired to qualify for the death penalty.

Marvin Wilson, 54, was pronounced dead at 6.27pm local time (9.27am AEST), 14 minutes after his lethal injection began at the state prison in Huntsville. Wilson's attorneys had argued that he should have been ineligible for capital punishment because of his low IQ.

In their appeal to the high court, his attorneys pointed to a psychological test conducted in 2004 that pegged Wilson's IQ at 61, below the generally accepted minimum competency standard of 70.

But lower courts agreed with state attorneys, who argued that Wilson's claim was based on a single test that may have been faulty and that his mental impairment claim isn't supported by other tests and assessments of him over the years.

The Supreme Court denied his request for a stay of execution less than two hours before his lethal injection began. Lead defence attorney Lee Kovarsky said he was "gravely disappointed and saddened" by the ruling, calling it "outrageous that the state of Texas continues to utilise unscientific guidelines ... to determine which citizens with intellectual disability are exempt from execution".

Wilson was convicted of murdering 21-year-old Jerry Williams in November 1992, several days after police seized 24 grams of cocaine from Wilson's apartment and arrested him.

Witnesses testified that Wilson and another man, Andrew Lewis, beat Williams outside of a convenience store in Beaumont, about 129 kilometres east of Houston. Wilson, who was free on bond, accused Williams of snitching on him about the drugs, they said.

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