South Carolina double killer put to death

June 21, 2008 at 7:47 AM
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COLUMBIA, S.C., June 21 (UPI) -- A convicted double-murderer with a low IQ who was allowed to act as his own attorney during his trial has been executed in South Carolina, officials said.

James Earl Reed, 49, was put to death by lethal injection late Friday at the Broad River Correctional Institute in Columbia, S.C., after his execution was first stayed, then allowed to proceed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier reported.

Reed was convicted of murdering Joseph and Barbara Ann Lafayette in their Adams Run, S.C., home in 1994, shooting each victim five times at point-blank range.

Diagnosed as mildly retarded, Reed was allowed to act as his own attorney in his 1996 trial after he couldn't cooperate with his appointed counsel. His attorneys had hoped the high court would consider that grounds for his conviction to overturned, but that proved to not be the case, the newspaper said.

The motion was based on a Supreme Court decision rendered this week in which the court ruled that a defendant can be ruled competent to stand trial but also incapable of acting as his own lawyer.

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