Huffington Post Texas authorities executed Marvin Wilson, a 54-year-old death row inmate, on Tuesday night after his attorneys failed to convince state and federal courts that he was mentally retarded and ineligible for the death penalty under a 2002 Supreme Court ruling.
Wilson was declared dead at 6:27 p.m. local time. He cried out to his gathered family members as he expired, Texas officials said.
“Give mom a hug for me and tell her that I love her,” Wilson said.
“Take me home, Jesus. Take me home, Lord,” he continued. “I ain’t left yet, must be a miracle. I am a miracle.”
The Supreme Court late in the afternoon rejected without comment a last-ditch appeal by Wilson’s lawyers, clearing the way for his death by lethal injection. The appeal cited a 2004 psychological exam that pegged Wilson’s IQ at just 61. The Texas benchmark for mental retardation is an IQ of about 70 or less.
“We are gravely disappointed and profoundly saddened that the United States Supreme Court has refused to intervene,” said Lee Kovarsky, Wilson’s attorney and a law professor at the University of Maryland.
Wilson was convicted in 1994 in the shooting death of Jerry Williams, 21, who had identified him to police as a drug dealer. His accomplice in the crime, Terry Lewis, was given life in prison with the possibility of parole, after Lewis’s wife testified that Wilson confessed to pulling the trigger. No forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony established the identity of the shooter.
Wilson maintained that he did not commit the murder, but his defense ultimately hinged on convincing state or federal courts that his diminished mental capacity should exempt him from execution.
School records showed Wilson fared poorly in school, earning Ds and Fs in special education classes, and failing 7th grade. Family members testified that Wilson was called “dummy” and “retard” by other children when he was a boy, and struggled with basic tasks that include tying his shoes, counting money and mowing the lawn.
Texas and federal courts, however, rejected Wilson’s claim that he was mentally retarded, siding with prosecutors who argued that his actions showed him to be a street-savvy criminal. Prosecutors also declared that other intelligence tests showed Wilson’s IQ was in the low- to mid-70s.
“Wilson created schemes using a decoy to screen his thefts, hustled for jobs in the community, and orchestrated the execution of the snitch, demonstrating inventiveness, drive and leadership,” Edward Marshall, a Texas assistant attorney general, said in a statement.
In 2002, the Supreme Court prohibited the execution of the mentally retarded, declaring it cruel and unusual punishment forbidden under the Constitution’s 8th Amendment. Those with diminished mental capacity, the court ruled, are less culpable for their crimes than those with normal intellects. The reasoning was nearly identical to the legal argument the court embraced in forbidding the execution of juvenile offenders.
The court left it up to the states to determine who qualified as mentally retarded. In response, the Texas Court for Criminal Appeals, the top state court, cited in a ruling the child-like character “Lennie,” from John Steinbeck’s classic novel “Of Mice and Men,” as its standard of what type of offender should be exempt from execution.
“Most Texas citizens would agree that Steinbeck’s Lennie should, by virtue of his lack of reasoning ability and adaptive skills, be exempt from execution,” the court found.
Those with more advanced intellects should face execution, regardless of psychological tests indicating mental deficits, the ruling said. The Texas standard has been used repeatedly to justify the execution of those who by clinical benchmarks would typically be judged to suffer from mild mental retardation.
Those standards applied to Wilson, who exhibited serious mental deficits beginning in childhood, family members said.
According to his sister, Wilson sucked his thumb into his 20s. His cousin, Beverly Walters, said Wilson was constantly teased about his intelligence as a boy.
“The other kids in school would always call Marvin dummy,” Walters said in 2003.
On Tuesday, the use of Steinbeck’s character to support the execution of those with less profound mental deficits was criticized harshly by the author’s son.
“Prior to reading about Mr. Wilson’s case, I had no idea that the great state of Texas would use a fictional character that my father created to make a point about human loyalty and dedication …. as a benchmark to identify whether defendants with intellectual disability should live or die,” Thomas Steinbeck said in a statement.
“I am certain that if my father, John Steinbeck, were here, he would be deeply angry and ashamed to see his work used in this way,” Steinbeck said.
Wilson is the seventh person put to death in 2012 by Texas, which has nine more inmates scheduled to die by lethal injection before the end of the year.
33 thoughts on “Marvin Wilson Execution: Texas Puts Man With 61 IQ To Death”
There is a huge difference between being intelligent and being smart. He wasn’t a dummy.
There you got it – Mr. Wilsons IQ was higher than those elected officials that make and try to uphold the law. F**K just look at that Bush guy down there in Tx.
He was smart enough to kill and sell drugs.
Yea maybe so ray,but who is to say – with a lower IQ – that he wasn`t instigated to do it by the real dope dealer. Think about it Ray – don`t be so quick to judge if you wern`t there ,eh. I wasn`t there – were you there, Ray ?
Hey Ray, give a 3 year old kid a gun and see what he’ll do. I’m sure he was smart enough to kill, too. Give him drugs and I’m sure he’s smart enough to eat it or give it to his 2 year old friend. That was his mentality, dumbass! So we should just execute him?
This is so sad. Compared to other criminals, this is so sad.
yes NC. things like this realy pisses me off. And then we got those Schmucks like this Ray guy saying what he did. We all know the old saying about glass houses , and those being without sin and throwing the first stone – I`m just refering to that Ray guy`s comment above. He must be one of those with out sin .
“His accomplice in the crime, Terry Lewis, was given life in prison with the possibility of parole, after Lewis’s wife testified that Wilson confessed to pulling the trigger. No forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony established the identity of the shooter.”
Again, what makes her testimony credible?
I knew you two would field that one for me, that’s why I didn’t say anything.
Don’t worry, I added another one. lol
I knew the three of you would. 🙂
Thankyou very much you guys. I hope I was one of those you`re refering to It doese piss me off. Another example of some body who had a low IQ that probobly could not afford a decent lawer and this is what happens to the guy. It bothers me every time I hear about a story like this.
You were. 🙂
Thanks again you guys. I thought so. thank you.
You’re top notch too, Angel.
Yes you are Angel!! You guys are top notch without a second to think if ya are or not – we know ya`ll are.
Drug dealer. Killer. But he loved his mum!
No Witnesses. No Evidence.
Only if yer on their govt. payroll – no witness, no evidence – Angel lol.
With a screen name like that, and the way his comment is worded, it could easily be perceived that he’s speaking about himself.
If you are right #1 then maybe he is another one they can give the proverbial hot shot to. Hell, he might be another troll f**ker eh #1
Either that, diggerdan, or possibly a masochist, after seeing the comments you and NC posted at that idiot Ray.
Actually, for obvious eugenic reasons, we *should* execute the retards first! We should preserve the brightest. Two words: Operation Paperclip.
Otherwise we preserve morons and kill geniuses. That makes no sense and you know it. It should be the other way around: kill morons and preserve geniuses.
What the hell was that?
I think she is trying to direct us to Operation Paperclip and how its goals would have been fulfilled when they put that man with the 61 IQ to death.
Also, bright people are not necessarily geniuses, as they are the ones who declare themselves illuminated.
Did she hit her head or what. what that comment Tatiana C said was just plain fu–`n wrong. Excuse me #1 but I`m gonna say FU Tatiana C. I`m done on that one I am #1NWO Hater, wait a second , just one more thing for that bitch – she, in my opinion is what is wrong in this world. I like to think Henry is right with his comment below the video there.
I agree with Henry. Take a look at the video he posted, diggerdan. I don’t think She actually believes that way, I think she’s making a point about the people that do. They’re out there.
I was hoping it was something like that, but it could easily have been misconstrued, the way it was worded.
I know Operation Paperclip very well. It went hand in hand with the Ratline.
No diggerdan, she was speaking from an NWO point of view, that was NOT her true opinion.
But as I said, the wording was a bit confusing, even for me, but Henry seemed to have understood what she meant.
You are right #1 NWO Hater and Angel-NYC – I really got to appoligize to Tatiana C. for that insulting remark that I made to her. So once again Tatiana C – I am sorry I said what I did. I guess I was still peed off about that guy with the 61 IQ. That statement I made was less than a 61 IQ statement comming from me. I`m sorry guys about that statement to Tatianna C. Actualy to the Trenches site because I was out of line on that one I was.
…sometimes it is embarrassing being a human being….good for Mr. Steinbeck…
Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family