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Marvin Wilson
Marvin Wilson
TEXAS (USA): MAN EXECUTED DESPITE LOW IQ CLAIMS

August 7, 2012: Texas authorities executed Marvin Wilson, a 54-year-old death row inmate, after his attorneys failed to convince state and federal courts that he was mentally retarded and ineligible for the death penalty under a 2002 Supreme Court ruling.
Wilson was declared dead at 6:27 p.m. local time. He cried out to his gathered family members as he expired, Texas officials said.
"Give mom a hug for me and tell her that I love her," Wilson said.
"Take me home, Jesus. Take me home, Lord," he continued. "I ain't left yet, must be a miracle. I am a miracle."
The Supreme Court late in the afternoon rejected without comment a last-ditch appeal by Wilson's lawyers, clearing the way for his death by lethal injection.
The appeal cited a 2004 psychological exam that pegged Wilson's IQ at just 61. The Texas benchmark for mental retardation is an IQ of about 70 or less.
"We are gravely disappointed and profoundly saddened that the United States Supreme Court has refused to intervene," said Lee Kovarsky, Wilson's attorney and a law professor at the University of Maryland.
Wilson was convicted in 1994 in the shooting death of Jerry Williams, 21, who had identified him to police as a drug dealer. His accomplice in the crime, Terry Lewis, was given life in prison with the possibility of parole, after Lewis's wife testified that Wilson confessed to pulling the trigger. No forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony established the identity of the shooter.
Wilson maintained that he did not commit the murder, but his defense ultimately hinged on convincing state or federal courts that his diminished mental capacity should exempt him from execution.
Texas and federal courts, however, rejected Wilson's claim that he was mentally retarded, siding with prosecutors who argued that his actions showed him to be a street-savvy criminal. Prosecutors also declared that other intelligence tests showed Wilson's IQ was in the low- to mid-70s.
In 2002, the Supreme Court prohibited the execution of the mentally retarded, declaring it cruel and unusual punishment forbidden under the Constitution's 8th Amendment. Those with diminished mental capacity, the court ruled, are less culpable for their crimes than those with normal intellects. The reasoning was nearly identical to the legal argument the court embraced in forbidding the execution of juvenile offenders.
The court left it up to the states to determine who qualified as mentally retarded. In response, the Texas Court for Criminal Appeals, the top state court, cited in a ruling the child-like character "Lennie," from John Steinbeck's classic novel "Of Mice and Men," as its standard of what type of offender should be exempt from execution.
"Most Texas citizens would agree that Steinbeck's Lennie should, by virtue of his lack of reasoning ability and adaptive skills, be exempt from execution," the court found.
Those with more advanced intellects should face execution, regardless of psychological tests indicating mental deficits, the ruling said. The Texas standard has been used repeatedly to justify the execution of those who by clinical benchmarks would typically be judged to suffer from mild mental retardation.
Those standards applied to Wilson, who exhibited serious mental deficits beginning in childhood, family members said.
The use of Steinbeck's character to support the execution of those with less profound mental deficits was criticized harshly by the author's son.
"Prior to reading about Mr. Wilson's case, I had no idea that the great state of Texas would use a fictional character that my father created to make a point about human loyalty and dedication …. as a benchmark to identify whether defendants with intellectual disability should live or die," Thomas Steinbeck said in a statement.
"I am certain that if my father, John Steinbeck, were here, he would be deeply angry and ashamed to see his work used in this way," Steinbeck said.
Wilson is the seventh person put to death in 2012 by Texas, which has nine more inmates scheduled to die by lethal injection before the end of the year. (Sources: huffingtonpost.com, 08/08/2012)

SOUTH SUDAN: TWO INMATES HANGED AT PRISON IN JUBA
GAMBIA URGED TO STOP PRISONER EXECUTIONS
IRAQ: 26 EXECUTIONS IN THREE DAYS
SAUDI ARABIA: MAN BEHEADED IN ASIR PROVINCE
AFGHANISTAN: SEVENTEEN VILLAGERS BEHEADED
GAMBIA: NINE DEATH ROW PRISONERS EXECUTED
EU: ASHTON VOICES CONCERN OVER TEXAN EXECUTION
ARIZONA (USA): MAN EXECUTED FOR 1987 RAPE, MURDER OF CO-WORKERS
PAKISTAN: SC MOVED AGAINST DEATH PENALTY LAW
CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES URGED TO IMPOSE MORATORIUM ON DEATH PENALTY
HOC PRO MORATORIUM CAMPAIGN OUTLOOK
ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TERZI SEES ABOLITION POTENTIAL IN NORTH AFRICA
MYANMAR: DEATH ROW BOMBING CONVICT PARDONED
JAPAN: TWO KILLERS HANGED, IN TOKYO AND OSAKA
HANDS OFF CAIN PRESENTS 2012 REPORT ON THE DEATH PENALTY WORLDWIDE
MALAYSIA: FILIPINO EX-CON SENT TO THE GALLOWS FOR MURDER
TEXAS (USA): DEATH ROW INMATE'S SENTENCE REDUCED TO LIFE
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  JAPAN HANGS CULT LEADER SHOKO ASAHARA, 6 OTHERS FOR 1995 TOKYO SUBWAY SARIN ATTACK  
  SOMALIA - DEATH PENALTY AND TERRORISM  
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