Calls for mercy on intellectually disabled murderer
An intellectually disabled death row inmate in the US state of Georgia is scheduled to die Tuesday, as lawyers and advocates petition for his life to be spared.
On Thursday, lawyers for Warren Hill, 54, filed an appeal with the US Supreme court to stop the execution based on his intellectual disability.
Hill's intellectual disability has been certified by numerous psychiatric experts and his execution has been postponed several times previously.
Various legal and medical authorities called for clemency for Hill, who has an IQ of 70, in appeals to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, which was reviewing the case Monday.
The Supreme Court ruled against the execution of prisoners with mental disabilities in 2002, but left each state with the authority to determine what constitutes a mental disability.
Georgia has particularly strict standards for the term, and a convict's mental disability must be established beyond a reasonable doubt to escape the death penalty.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that death row inmates must have a "fair opportunity" to prove their disability and that states cannot create high-risk scenarios under which the intellectually disabled are likely to be executed.
"Every single expert who has examined him, including those retained by the state, agrees that Mr Hill has intellectual disability," his lawyer Brian Kammer said in a statement.
"Mr Hill faces execution despite the fact that he has had lifelong, well-documented intellectual disability, which should exclude him from facing a death sentence," he said.
In a Supreme Court brief, Georgia maintained that the state's "definition of intellectual disability is consistent with the clinical definitions."
Hill was already serving life in prison for the murder of his girlfriend when he fatally bludgeoned a fellow prisoner in 1990 and was subsequently sentenced to death.
Multiple legal and medical organizations as well as prominent figures, including former US president Jimmy Carter, have called for mercy for Hill.
The victim's family and several jurors who convicted him have also called for Hill's death sentence to be commuted to life in prison.
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