Warren Hill, a mentally disabled convicted killer who was sentenced to death, was granted a stay of execution only a half an hour before he was scheduled to die.
According to The Huffington Post, The State Board of Pardons and Paroles had earlier denied clemency to Hill, and he was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7:00pm EST Tuesday evening.
Hill was convicted of the 1990 murder of his cellmate by beating him to death using a “nail studded board” in a Georgia State Prison. He was initially serving a life sentence for the murder of his girlfriend in 1986, as reported by the Associated Press.
The Supreme Court ruled the executing of mentally disabled inmates unconstitutional. However, in the state of Georgia, defendants are required to prove that they are mentally disabled “beyond reasonable doubt.” Hill’s lawyers have argued that his mental disability, including his I.Q. of 70 should spare him from being executed. However a number of state courts claim he did not meet Georgia’s legal standards.
Hill’s attorney Brian Kammer made a statement saying,
“This is the strictest standard in any jurisdiction in the nation. Even Warren Hill, a man with an IQ of 70 who is diagnosed as mentally retarded by every doctor who has examined him, found it impossible to meet this standard of proof.” (CNN.com)
State representatives say that because Hill served in the Navy and held a steady job prior to his conviction, his low I.Q. and diagnosis may not be valid arguments.
Hill’s execution is suspended until further notice. This is his second stay of execution.