Warren Lee Hill Granted Stay of Execution Over Mentally Disabled Claim

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02/20/13, ATL, GEORGIA — NYDailyNews Update;

The execution of a Georgia man who killed a fellow prisoner in 1990 was halted Tuesday at the last minute so courts could consider claims that he’s mentally disabled and other issues.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted its stay of execution as 52-year-old Warren Lee Hill was being prepared for lethal injection. In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the appeals court said further review is needed of recent affidavits by doctors who changed their minds about Hill’s mental capacity.
“In other words, all of the experts — both the State’s and the petitioner’s — now appear to be in agreement that Hill is in fact mentally retarded,” judges in the majority wrote in their order.
The state court of appeals also issued a stay to allow more time to consider a challenge related to the state’s lethal injection procedure.
Earlier in the day, the state parole board, the Supreme Court of Georgia and the U.S. 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,” defense attorney Brian Kammer said in an email.
A spokeswoman for the state attorney general declined comment.
Hill was sentenced to die 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 and other prisoners 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.
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,” President Carter said in a statement.
Hill was originally set to be executed in July, but the state delayed his execution when it changed its execution procedure from a three-drug combination to a one-drug method. The state Supreme Court then further delayed the execution after Hill’s lawyers filed a challenge saying corrections officials violated administrative procedure when they made the change. The state’s high court earlier this month denied that challenge, and Hill’s execution was reset for Tuesday.
Hill’s lawyers argue that he is mentally disabled and therefore shouldn’t be executed. The state maintains that the defense failed to meet its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Hill is mentally disabled.
Death penalty defendants in Georgia have to prove they are mentally disabled beyond a reasonable doubt to avoid execution, the strictest standard in the country. 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.

Read More: NY Daily News

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February 17, 2013, GEORGIA — Defense Lawyers desperately trying to save Georgia Death Row Inmate, Warren L. Hill, who is set to be executed Tuesday night

Warren Lee Hill was serving a life sentence for the 1986 murder of his 18-year-old girlfriend, Maya Wright, before being placed on Death Row for the 1990 murder of Joseph Handspike, another inmate. Hill attacked Handspike with a nail embedded in a board, hitting him multiple times. His defense lawyers have been trying desperately to save the man who they claim has ‘mental disabilities’.

Hill is currently at an Atlanta prison and is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday evening at 7PM (Feb. 19, 2013) despite a Supreme Court decision outlawing capital punishment for criminals who are deemed ‘mentally retarded’. On Feb. 5, 2013 Attorney General Samuel Olens released a statement confirming Hill’s execution date.

On February 5, 2013, the Superior Court of Lee County filed an order, setting the seven-day window in which the execution of Warren Lee Hill may occur to begin at noon, February 19, 2013, and ending seven days later at noon on February 26, 2013.

– The release

Hill was supposed to be executed in July, 2012 but was granted a stay of execution after he made an appeal due to the new execution method, which involves the injection of a single drug called pentobarbital, — the same drug often used for euthanizing animals. (Previously, the state of Georgia had used the three-drug cocktail method which typically includes a barbiturate, paralytic, and potassium solution.) — He is one of three Georgia inmates on Death Row trying to fight for a court order that would prevent the state from using a drug to execute them without a doctor’s prescription first.

On Feb 4, 2013, the State Supreme Court judge denied one of Hills last appeals, claiming he met the criteria for mental retardation by a  “preponderance of evidence”.

However, according to defense lawyers, Hill’s IQ was approximately 70.

Many have advocated on Hill’s behalf, including US President Jimmy Carter as well as Handspike’s family saying they “feel strongly that persons with any kind of significant mental disabilities should not be put to death.”

Three doctors who previously took the stand to testify for the state of Georgia against Hill are now claiming that he is in-fact mentally disabled, and should not be put to death.

Dr. Thomas Sachy released a statement last week: ‘Having reviewed my earlier evaluation results and the far more extensive materials from the record of this case, I believe that my judgement that Mr Hill did not meet the criteria for mild mental retardation was in error.’

The other two doctors agreed and claimed their evaluations of Hill mental state in 2000 were ‘rush jobs.’

The state of Georgia has said that Hill’s lawyers have failed to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that their client is mentally disabled and the execution shall proceed.

Father ‘who hacked his disabled son’s head off and left it by the road for his mom to see believed the boy, 7, was a dummy or robot’

01/31/13, MailOnline — A father accused of hacking his disabled son’s head off with a meat cleaver and leaving it by the road for the boy’s mother to see, thought his seven-year-old son was actually a dummy or a robot, psychiatrists said today.

Defense experts told a judge in the murder case of Jeremiah Wright, from Louisiana, that he was suffering a delusion at the time of the brutal murder of Jori Lirette, seven, who suffered from cerebral palsy.

Psychiatrist Sarah DeLand and psychologist Robert Storer testified that Wright thought his son was really a government social experiment and told them: ‘I don’t believe they can do anything to me because it wasn’t a real person. His skull was made of plastic. He had foam in him.’

Grotesque: Jeremiah Wright (left) is said by police to have admitted killing his son Jori Lirette (right) by chopping off his head with a meat cleaverGrotesque: Jeremiah Wright (left) is said by police to have admitted killing his son Jori Lirette (right) by chopping off his head with a meat cleaver
Jeremiah Wright  is accused of killing his son Jori Lirette (both pictured), chopping off his head, hands and feet with a meat cleaver

Statement: Jesslyn Lirette (centre) speaks out about how her long term boyfriend murdered her seven-year-old son at her home

Statement: Jesslyn Lirette (centre) speaks out about how her long term boyfriend murdered her seven-year-old son at her home
The boy was killed on August 14, 2011. Since that time, the delusion has persisted and it will hinder Wright’s ability to help his attorneys, psychiatrists said during the sanity hearing.

If Wright is tried and convicted, he faces life in prison or death by lethal injection.

He is accused of killing and dismembering the boy after his mother Jesslyn Lirette threatened to kick him out of their Louisiana home.
A passing motorist found Jori after Wright allegedly left his head in the front yard for his mother to see. His hands and feet were also hacked off and found in a garbage bag.

Disabled Jori, who was wheelchair-bound due to cerebal palsy and heart problems and also had limited speech, was found by a passing motorist after being allegedly decapitated by his father last week.

The crime scene was so gruesome that some of the police who responded to the emergency call have had to have counseling, according to AZCentral.

Investigators said the grisly killing was carried out over a kitchen sink at the Louisiana home the boy shared with his father and his mother Jesslyn.

Click here for full article.

The 2009 Torture and Murder Of Yoo – Korea

Yoo, age 17, was mentally disabled, that combined with a tough childhood left the teenager insecure and vulnerable. She met Lee (male, then 19, now 22) via internet chatting and met in person in July 2007. They eventually stated dating and formed a ‘relationship’.

“Kang,” (19 at the time) a friend of Lee, invited Lee, another friend “Kim”(19 at the time) and Kim’s sister to his house in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, after he was left alone in the wake of his father’s death. The four teenagers moved in together last year, and Lee invited Yoo to join them in January.

Lee began to suspect that Yoo was cheating on him with Kim. After Kim told Lee that Yoo approached him first, Lee began beating Yoo Feb. 26. When Yoo tried to return home March 14 to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, Kang and Kim followed her and pushed her father away when he tried to keep his daughter at home. Yoo was then brought back to Kang’s house. (I wonder why the Father didn’t call Police right then and there?)

Yoo was brought back to the home she once shared with her ”friends” and beaten for ”cheating with another man”. They allegedly tied the victim, identified only as Yoo, to a chair for two to three hours and dropped a knife with the blade facing down and poked her with needles under the guise of giving her a tattoo. They also confessed to whipping her with a jump rope. They tortured Yoo for 21 days, coming up with new, sick, sadistic ways to hurt her.

She lost consciousness after being burned with metal spoons and chopsticks that were heated up in a microwave oven. The four teens left Yoo and told her not to play sick. They found her dead the following day, (Thursday.)

Once Yoo’s friends, the four suspects put rope around her corpse and wrapped it in a bed sheet. They buried her at a nearby mountain 1.7 kilometers away from the scene of her murder.

Yoo was killed after being beaten almost daily over 21 days by the so-called ”friends” with whom she trusted.. Seongnam police requested an arrest warrant for the four teenagers on suspicion of assault and homicide. A park worker noticed that the area where she was buried had a patch of grass missing and thought it looked strange and called the police.  Police think the teens were after Yoo’s monthly disability subsidy, and that
they had been living off of it since January.

“I thought they were just hanging around. I had no idea such an atrocity was being committed in the house,” a neighbor said. Kang’s house is in a residential area with many houses huddled together.

Source: http://rokdrop.com/2009/03/30/17-year-old-disabled-girl-tortured-murdered-by-friends/

—  http://news.khan.co.kr/kh_news/khan_art_view.html?artid=200903221910231&code=950201 (This article is a Korean write-up, if you know how to translate it then by all means.)

http://news.sbs.co.kr/section_news/news_read.jsp?news_id=N1000564081 – Another Korean new’s article