IQ defence fails to save killer from execution
A MAN convicted of killing a police informant was executed by Texas on Tuesday after the US Supreme Court rejected arguments that he was too mentally impaired to suffer a death penalty.
Lawyers for Marvin Wilson, 54, argued that he should not have been subject to capital punishment because of his low IQ.
In their appeal to the Supreme Court, Wilson’s legal team had pointed to a psychological test conducted in 2004 that put his IQ at 61, below the generally accepted minimum competency standard of 70.
However, lower courts agreed with state lawyers who argued that Wilson’s claim was based on a single, possibly faulty test, and that his impairment claim was not supported by other tests.
The Supreme Court denied his request for a stay less than two hours before the lethal injection began.
Lead defence lawyer 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 grammes of cocaine from Wilson’s apartment and arrested him.
Witnesses testified that Wilson and another man, Andrew Lewis, beat Williams outside a store in Beaumont, south-east Texas. Wilson, who was free on bond, accused Williams of informing police on him about the drugs, they said.
Witnesses said Wilson and Lewis abducted Williams, and residents said they heard a gunshot a short time later. Williams was found dead on the side of a road the next day, beaten and shot in the head and neck at close range.
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