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World

Texas: man diagnosed as mentally impaired is executed

Translated Saturday 11 August 2012, by Sarah Noyce and reviewed by Isabelle Métral

A man found guilty of murder and diagnosed as mentally impaired was executed in Texas on Tuesday, despite numerous protests.

Marvin Wilson has been executed at the age of 54. He was sentenced to death in April, 1994, for the murder of a police informant two years before in November, 1992. The prisoner later argued his execution to be unconstitutional, referring to a decision made by the Supreme Court in 2002 outlawing execution of the mentally impaired. Marvin Wilson’s IQ was measured at 61, below the standard of 70 usually used to mark the parameters of mental impairment.

However, the Supreme Court also gave states some freedom in defining what constitutes mental impairment, a freedom which Texas used when rejecting Marvin Wilson’s appeal. The southern state argued amongst other things, that the test measuring Wilson’s IQ at 61 had been carried out by an inexperienced intern.

Twenty years after his arrest, Marvin Wilson was declared dead at 6:27pm on Tuesday, 14 minutes after receiving the lethal injection at Huntsville Prison, Texas. He is the seventh prisoner to be executed in Texas this year and the 25th in the United States.


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