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Virginia Plans for Execution, Disputing Killer Is Retarded

May 23, 2003|From Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia is continuing with plans to electrocute a man despite recent state evaluations suggesting he is mentally impaired and a Supreme Court ruling barring execution of the mentally retarded.

Carrie Cantrell, spokeswoman for Atty. Gen. Jerry Kilgore, said previous testing by the inmate's own experts found he was not retarded.

An April 30 mental health evaluation by the Department of Corrections found that Percy L. Walton "appears to be severely mental [sic] retarded."

A second state evaluation, on May 14, said Walton was schizophrenic and psychotic with an IQ of 66 and "doesn't shower, talks to himself ... and ... bangs on walls." The report also said, however, that Walton understood that he is scheduled to be put to death Wednesday and "knows that he was convicted of several murders."

Walton, 24, pleaded guilty to capital murder for robbing and killing three neighbors in 1996.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that executing mentally retarded people is unconstitutionally cruel. A person with an IQ of 70 or lower is generally considered mentally retarded.

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