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Texas set to execute mentally retarded man

Texas set to execute mentally retarded man
Marvin Wilson.

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Lawyers for a death row inmate say Texas is about to execute a mentally retarded man despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning such executions.

Marvin Wilson is scheduled to face lethal injection Tuesday. He was convicted in Beaumont, Texas, of the 1992 killing of a 21-year-old man after a fight.

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The Supreme Court, in 2002's Atkins vs. Virginia, banned the execution of the mentally retarded. But Texas uses its own process, called Briseno after a state court case, in which the "mildly retarded" can be executed.

In a petition to the Supreme Court, Wilson's lawyers argue using the Briseno process violates the high court ruling in Atkins.

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Wilson's petition said a court-appointed neuropsychologist concluded the inmate was mentally retarded -- a conclusion that was never challenged.

"Mr. Wilson received a 61 on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Third Edition ('WAIS-III'), recognized as the gold standard of intellectual assessment," his petition said. "The WAIS-III measures verbal and non-verbal (performance) components, yielding a full-scale IQ ('FSIQ') score. Mr. Wilson's FSIQ places him below the first percentile of human intelligence."

If Wilson does not get a stay and review of his case, the petition said, "he will own the grisly distinction as the Texas Atkins claimant executed with the lowest WAIS-III score not subject to expert dispute."

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But Ed Shettle, an assistant district attorney in Jefferson County,said Wilson was not found to be mentally retarded during his two trials in 1992 and 1998 for the crime, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

"The state courts found that he wasn't retarded," Shettle said. "That's really the long and short of that."

Lawyers in the 1992 trial have said they didn't present evidence of Wilson's mental retardation because at that time it would have been considered an aggravating factor leading to a death sentence.

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