Marvin Wilson To Be Executed, His Attorneys Argue Mentally Impaired

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.


Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying.Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in Houston...

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