Texas executes man who argued he was mentally handicapped

A Texas man convicted of killing a police informant was executed Tuesday evening after the Supreme Court refused to hear arguments that he was mentally handicapped and therefore should not qualify for the death penalty, The Associated Press reported.

Marvin Wilson, 54, was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m., 14 minutes after his lethal injection began at the state prison in Huntsville.

Wilson’s attorneys had challenged his execution as unconstitutional under the 2002 decision Atkins v. Virginia, which banned executing mentally retarded people but gave states some discretion in deciding who qualified for protection.

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. Federal law bans executions of mentally handicapped people as cruel and unusual punishment.

The defendant was convicted of murder for the November 1992 killing of a 21-year-old police drug informant, Jerry Robert Williams, and was sentenced to death in April 1994.

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.

Read more of this story on MSBNC.com

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