Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Court halts execution of 'disabled' inmate

20 February 2013, 10:49

Georgia - A federal appeals court halted the execution on Tuesday of a Georgia man who killed a fellow prisoner in 1990, granting a last-minute stay to the inmate who defence attorneys argued was mentally disabled.

The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals issued the ruling for Warren Lee Hill as corrections officials prepared his lethal injection for later in the evening.

Earlier in the day, the state parole board, the Supreme Court of Georgia and the US Supreme Court had all declined to stop the execution.

"We are greatly relieved that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the execution of Warren Hill, a person with mental retardation. All the doctors who have examined Mr Hill are unanimous in their diagnosis of mental retardation," defence attorney Brian Kammer said in an email.

Hill was sentenced to death for the 1990 beating death of fellow inmate Joseph Handspike.

Authorities say he used a board studded with nails to bludgeon Handspike while he slept as other prisoners watched and pleaded with Hill to stop.

At the time Hill was already serving a life sentence for murder in the 1986 slaying of his girlfriend, Myra Wright, who had been shot 11 times.

Support from former president

Hill's lawyers argue that he is mentally disabled and therefore shouldn't be executed. The state maintains that the defence failed to meet its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Hill is mentally disabled.

Hill has received support from various activists and from former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn.

"Georgia should not violate its own prohibition against executing individuals with serious diminished capacity," Jimmy Carter said in a statement.

Death penalty defendants in Georgia have to prove they are mentally disabled beyond a reasonable doubt to avoid execution, the strictest standard in the US.

Hill's lawyers have said the high standard for proving mental disability is problematic because psychiatric diagnoses are subject to a degree of uncertainty that is virtually impossible to overcome.

But Georgia's strict standard has repeatedly been upheld by state and federal courts.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Natural aphrodisiacs to boost lib...

It is advisable to take them before sex in order to achieve maximum benefit. Read more...

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
Raila has lost his remaining bull...

He added that Jubilee and Cord are like day and night. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Mudavadi of no value to CORD, say...

Leader of Majority in National Assembly, Adan Duale has said that ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi is of no value to CORD. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Peter Kenneth will not run for Pr...

He clarified that he will not run for Presidency in 2017 as he supports Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Exams should not have political g...

He also said that school properties must not ‘carry any political portraits’. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Matatu crew drugs female passenge...

Hours after the story was circulated on social media Sunday, the crew was traced at Dagoretti and arrested. Read more...