0

Execution set for Ga. man described as mentally disabled

Warren Lee Hill

Warren Lee Hill

ATLANTA - A Georgia man convicted of killing two people and described by his attorneys as mentally disabled is scheduled to be executed on Monday.

Warren Lee Hill, 53, is sentenced to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m.

Hill killed a fellow prisoner, Joseph Handspike, in August 1990 by beating him to death. Hill was serving a life sentence for the 1986 shooting death of his 18-year-old girlfriend, Myra Wright.

Hill's attorneys argue that he should not be executed under Georgia's law that bans capital punishment for mentally disabled inmates. State prosecutors say that early examinations showed that Hill has the capacity to understand his execution and argue that it should move forward.

According to court records, Hill scored 69 on one intelligence test and in the 70s on other examinations.

Mental disability is generally defined as having a score of 70 or below on intelligence tests, Hill's attorneys said.

In February, Hill's lawyers filed affidavits in a Georgia court by three doctors who found Hill competent 13 years ago but who now believe he is mentally disabled.

In the affidavits, one doctor called the earlier evaluation for the state "extremely and unusually rushed" while another said his opinions were "unreliable because of my lack of experience at the time."

A third doctor cited "advances in the understanding of mental retardation" since 2000.

However, in court documents, the state of Georgia said the three state doctors reviewed "extensive materials" before concluding in 2000 that Hill was not mentally disabled, and were thoroughly cross-examined by Hill's attorneys at the time.

The doctors noted in 2000 that Hill had been a recruiter for the U.S. Navy, budgeted his money and was a "father figure" for his siblings, the state said in court documents.

In 1988, Georgia became the first U.S. state to enact a law banning the execution of mentally disabled defendants. But according to death penalty experts, Georgia has perhaps the toughest standard in the nation for defining mental disability, requiring proof "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Last week, an Atlanta-based non-profit group, All About Developmental Disabilities, called for Georgia to change its death penalty law to lower the standard for proving mental disability.

Hill's execution would be the 19th in the United States this year, according to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center.

Hill did not request a special last meal and will be offered the prison's standard menu, prison officials said.

Comments

kevin 9 months, 1 week ago

Everyone is mentally disabled after they are caught.

0

Sign in to comment