Wednesday Jul 11, 201207:38 AM GMT
Black man to be executed in US despite mental retardation
The US state of Georgia is set to execute a black man who has been declared as being mentally retarded. (File photo)
The US state of Georgia is set to execute a black man who has been declared as being mentally retarded. (File photo)
Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:48AM
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Executing Warren Hill, a 52-year-old man whom a court has found to be more likely than not mentally retarded, would be a terrible miscarriage of justice."

Brian Kammer, the defense attorney of black mentally-retarded Warren Hill

An African-American diagnosed with mental retardation is set to be executed in the US state of Georgia, despite a court ruling banning the death penalty for convicts with mental disabilities.


Warren Hill, 52, will be executed on July 18 for slaying a fellow prisoner over 20 years ago, while the judge who oversaw the murder case back in 1991 had confirmed that Hill was “mentally retarded by a preponderance of the evidence.”

In 2003, however, the Georgia State Supreme Court reversed the earlier ruling and upheld the death penalty for Hill, saying that Hill’s mental disability should be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

This is while in 2002, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling declaring that the execution of people with mental disabilities is unconstitutional.

Intelligence tests put Hill’s IQ score at 70, the point for what the American Association of Mental Retardation considers mental retardation.

Hill’s attorney Brian Kammer said he would ask the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant Hill clemency.

“Executing Warren Hill, a 52-year-old man whom a court has found to be more likely than not mentally retarded, would be a terrible miscarriage of justice,'' Kammer said.

Earlier this year, the case was sent to the US Supreme Court, which refused to examine the case and ordered that the execution be carried out on July 18.

Amnesty International has drafted a request to be sent to Albert Murray, the head of Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, to call on the state judicial authorities to reconsider Hill's verdict.

As Georgia is the only US state requiring that mental disabilities be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, Amnesty International says that “Hill would not likely be facing execution had his crime been committed outside of Georgia.”

“Several jurors who sat on Warren’s original jury have since stated under oath that they would have sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole had that been an option at the time of his 1991 trial, particularly after learning of the evidence of his intellectual disability and history of childhood abuse,” the rights group said.

Hill committed the murder in 1991 while he was already in jail for another murder case.

SAB/MA/HJL
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