Let me first settle down anyone who is ready to rip me a new one the use of the word “retarded.” I do not mean it as an insult. It is an actual word in the English language which is defined by Webster’s as “less advanced, especially mentally, than is usual for one’s age.”
And a condition that is the THE focus of recent happenings in Georgia.
The headlines are bursting with titles such as “Georgia to Execute Disabled Man,” “Execution Date Set for Mentally Retarded Inmate,” and “Georgia Set to Execute Inmate with IQ of 70.”
Blah, blah, blah.
In 1986, Warren Lee Hill, Jr. initially landed himself in prison after he murdered his 18-year-old girlfriend Myra Wright by shooting her eleven times. For so brutally taking a young girl’s life, Hill received a life sentence.
So 1990 rolls around and Hill is serving his sentence at the Lee Correctional Institution when he took a nail-studded 2 x 6 wooden board and began to beat fellow inmate Joseph Handspike as he lay sleeping. Other inmates who witnessed the event said Hill mocked the victim as he beat him to death by saying, “You ain’t bad! You ain’t bad now!”
Charged with murder, Hill returns to the Courtroom in 1991. During this trial, the defense hires a clinical psychologist who testifies Hill tested at an IQ of 77 – eight points higher than the upper scale of mild retardation requirements.
The jury sentences Warren Lee Hill, Jr. to death.
In 1993, Hill’s attorneys file an appeal but do not mention a mental retardation defense because, according to their own hired guns, there isn’t one. It is denied.
Now comes 1996 and Hill has a new set of attorneys who file an appeal claiming their client cannot be executed because he is mentally retarded. According to them, Hill scores only a 70 on IQ tests. One can only assume they failed to realize this was still one point above mental retardation requirements. Or maybe they believed it was close enough – who knows?
What they don’t mention in their pleadings to save a two-time killer’s life is that he was able to graduate high school and rose to the rank of Second Class Seaman during his enlistment in the Navy.
Not usually the accomplishments of someone so “retarded” they can’t tell wrong from right, in my opinion.
His attorneys continue their plea by claiming Hill never matured beyond the mentality of a sixth grader.
And there’s where it really sticks in my craw.
Don’t tell me sixth graders don’t understand killing is wrong. Even if they’ve been raised in a home full of serial killers, they are still are very likely to know murder is a no-no. To do it is a CHOICE to do wrong.
And why does a low IQ equate to not eligible for execution? I’ve know more than my fair share of truly ignorant (again, not an insult but used in the sense of the actual meaning of the word) people but they were good people. They understood the concept and consequences of bad behavior.
But in the case of Warren Hill, Jr., his (still) above “mild retardation” IQ wasn’t brought up until other appeal efforts failed. Additionally, it went down seven points. So, in other words, they’re dumbing down their client to save his life.
They’re just doing their jobs, so I’m not really ragging on the attorneys. I am, however, bitching at the people who believe it should be enough to spare him the death penalty.
Look, my opinion is not a popular one, but it’s mine nonetheless and here it is: Maybe Warren Lee Hill, Jr. is mentally challenged but not so much he couldn’t figure out a way to kill someone. Twice. He didn’t kill one person, he killed two. Should Georgia taxpayers really have to feed and shelter a killer just because he’ll probably never be a Harvard candidate?
Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of people who claim mental retardation as a means to avoid the ultimate punishment. Why couldn’t they be “challenged” in the area committing murder? I know several families who wishes that were the case.
Humans are animals although we’re a more evolved animal but I think we may have out-evolved ourselves to the point of creating our own headaches and burdens. If we were still of the four-legged kind, Warren Lee Hill, Jr. would have been killed by his herd or left to die; hence problem solved. But no, there are groups who want to keep this TWO TIME killer alive at the expense of a government who really can’t afford it using the excuse of “mental retardation” for which he doesn’t even meet the standards – making it an insult to all the people who truly suffer these challenges everyday and DON’T KILL!
Then there is this bit of France making an appeal for Hill’s life. Really? Aren’t you some of the same folks who nag about America minding it’s own business? Take your own advice!
As it stands, Warren Lee Hill, Jr. will be executed on July 23, 2012. All I can say is, good riddance and be damn happy you get to go out easy with lethal injection instead being gunned down or beaten to death like your victims.