TEXAS (USA): ROBERT LADD EXECUTED
January 29, 2015: Robert Ladd, 57, Black, was executed in Texas after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments he was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty.
Ladd was sentenced to death on August 29, 1997 for the September 25, 1996 slaying of 38-year-old Vicki Ann Garner. Ladd came within hours of lethal injection before on April 23, 2003. A federal court agreed to hear evidence about juvenile records that suggested he was mentally impaired.
That appeal was denied and the Supreme Court last year turned down a review of Ladd's case.
His attorneys renewed similar arguments as his new execution date approached. "Ladd's deficits are well documented, debilitating and significant," Brian Stull, a senior staff lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project, told the high court.
Kelli Weaver, a Texas attorney general, reminded the justices in a filing that "each court that has reviewed Ladd's claim has determined that Ladd is not intellectually disabled."
Ladd's lawyers cited a psychiatrist's determination in 1970 that Ladd, then a 13-year-old in custody of the Texas Youth Commission, had an IQ of 67.
Courts have embraced scientific studies that consider an IQ of 70 a threshold for impairment. When he was arrested for Garner's slaying, Ladd had been on parole for about 4 years after serving about a third of a 40-year prison term for the October 25, 1978 slayings of a Dallas woman, Vivian Thompson, and her 2 infant children Latoya and Maurice. He pleaded guilty to those crimes.
Ladd becomes the 2nd inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, the 520th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982, the 6th to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1400 overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. (Sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin, 29/01/2015)