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Feb 19 - Georgia inmate loses clemency bid; execution set for tonight

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 Feb 19 - Georgia inmate loses clemency bid; execution set for tonight
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(CNN) -- Warren Lee Hill, whose defenders say he is mentally disabled, is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night for the 1990 k!lling of Joseph Handspike.
Handspike was another inmate in a Georgia state prison.
The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a request for clemency Tuesday, while the state Supreme Court denied a stay of execution in a 5-2 decision. The court also denied Hill's application to appeal a decision by a Superior Court dismissing his claim that he's mentally disabled.
In Georgia, the governor does not have clemency powers.
The execution is scheduled for 7 p.m. at a state prison in Jackson, about 45 miles south of Atlanta.
Hill was convicted of beating Handspike to death with a nail-studded board while already serving a life sentence in the 1985 k!lling of his girlfriend, Myra Wright.
Hill's lawyers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution, arguing that his IQ of 70 means he should be spared under the 2002 decision that barred the execution of the mentally disabled. But a string of state courts has said Hill doesn't qualify under Georgia law, which requires inmates to prove mental impairment "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Georgia is the only state with the reasonable-doubt standard, which Hill's lawyers call "a virtually insurmountable barrier" that flies in the face of the justices' 2002 decision.
"The U.S. Supreme Court says we don't put mentally retarded people to death, but we'll let the states determine who's retarded and who's not," CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said Monday.
Handspike's family has called for the execution to be called off, as have former classmates and school officials. The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities has weighed in against the execution, stating, "No other state risks the lives of those with developmental disabilities to this extreme."
Three doctors who examined Hill for the state "have now revised their opinions and find that Mr. Hill does meet the criteria for mental retardation," his lawyers argued in court papers.
Tuesday afternoon, they pleaded for the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.
"The state of Georgia remains an extreme outlier in requiring that defendants prove they have mental retardation 'beyond a reasonable doubt,' " Brian Kammer, an attorney for Hill, said in a statement.
"Even Warren Hill, a man with an I.Q of 70, who is diagnosed as mentally retarded by every doctor who has examined him, finds it impossible to meet this standard of proof. The U.S. Supreme Court must intervene in this case and prevent a mentally retarded man from being put to death tonight," he said.
But lawyers for the state argued that Hill had served in the Navy, held a job and managed his money before Wright's k!lling -- signs that while he had a low IQ, he didn't necessarily meet the legal standard for retardation.
Hill had been scheduled for execution in July, but the state Supreme Court halted the execution on procedural grounds.
Hill refused any special last meal, the state Department of Corrections said. Instead, prison officials said, he'll be offered the institution's meal tray of macaroni and cheese, baked beans, mixed vegetables, stir-fry vegetables, cornbread, cookies and iced tea.


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1 comments for "Feb 19 - Georgia inmate loses clemency bid; execution set for tonight"

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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #2
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fu*k him. He beat a dude to death with a board with nails in it WHILE in prison for k!lling his girlfriend. Save us all some money and throw the switch already.
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