Marvin Wilson To Be Executed, His Attorneys Argue Mentally Impaired

This May 26, 2006 file photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows death row inmate Marvin Wilson.
Attorneys want the U.S. Supreme Court to halt tonight's scheduled execution of a Texas man they say is mentally retarded.

Fifty-four-year-old Marvin Wilson is set to die for killing a police informant in Beaumont 20 years ago, but his attorneys say he shouldn't be executed because he only has an IQ of 61. 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that executing a mentally retarded person constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment," but justices left it up to individual states to decide the criteria for mental impairment.

Professor Kenneth Williams with the South Texas College of Law says in this state,  you have to prove a person displayed that impairment before they turned 18.

"For instance, if they were in special education, that they were in some sort of psychiatric facility, received some kind of treatment, that their grades were substandard, that sort of thing."

Wilson's attorneys say he struggled with simple tasks as a child, and dropped out of school in the 10th grade after being socially promoted.  But the state says it has test results showing Wilson's IQ above the impairment threshold of 70.

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...