Advocacy One
beta site    
AdvocacyOne | Human Rights
Defendants with Mental Retardation executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976
Earl Washington

Video 1: Interview: Earl Washington

Video 2: Interview: Mario Marquez

In order to view the video you need to have RealPlayer installed.
By Dr. Denis Keyes, William Edwards, Esq., & Robert Perske from the article, "People with Mental Retardation are Dying, Legally" from the journal Mental Retardation, Feb. 1997, Vol. 35 No. 1; updated by Death Penalty Information Center
Name State Race I.Q. Date of execution
1. Arthur F. Goode, III FL W 60-63 4/5/84
2. Ivon Ray Stanley GA B 62 7/12/84
3. James Dupree Henry FL B low 70s 9/20/84
4. Morris Odell Mason VA B 62-66(note 1) 6/25/85
5. James Terry Roach SC W 69-70(note 2) 1/10/86
6. Jerome Bowden GA B 59-65(note 3) 6/24/86
7. Willie Celestine LA W (68-81) 77 7/20/87
8. John Brogdon LA W mildly retarded 7/30/87
9. Horace Dunkins AL B 65-69(note 4) 7/14/89
10. Alton Waye VA B untested (probable MR) 8/30/89
11. Johnny Ray Anderson TX W 70 5/17/90
12. Dalton Prejean LA B 71-76 5/18/90
13. Ricky Ray Rector AR B (MR due to lobotomy) 1/24/92
14. Johnny Frank Garrett TX W dual diagnosis/MI 2/11/92
15. Robert Alton Harris CA W Fetal Alcohol(note 5) 4/21/92
16. Billy Wayne White TX B 66-69(note 6) 4/23/92
17. Nollie Lee Martin FL W dual diagnosis/MI 5/12/92
18. Ricky Lee Grubbs MO W 72(note 7) 10/21/92
19. Cornelius Singleton AL B 55-67 11/20/92
20. Robert Wayne Sawyer LA W 65-68(note 8) 3/5/93
21. William Henry Hance GA B mild MR 3/31/94
22. Mario Marquez TX L 65(note 9) 1/17/95
23. Willie Clisby AL B mild MR 4/28/95
24. Varnell Weeks AL B mild MR/MI 5/12/95
25. Girvies Davis IL B borderline MR 5/17/95
26. Sylvester Adams SC B mild MR 8/18/95
27. Barry Lee Fairchild AR B 60-63(note 10) 8/31/95
28. Walter Milton Correll VA W 68 1/4/96
29. Luis Mata (note 11) AZ L 68-70 8/22/96
30. John Earl Bush FL B borderline MR, organic brain damage 10/21/96
31. Frank Middleton SC B 68-69 11/22/96
32. Terry Washington TX B 58-69 5/6/97
33. Tony Mackall VA B 64 2/20/98
34. Reginald Powell MO B 65 2/25/98
35. Oliver Cruz TX L 64-76 8/9/00

Note 1:On Feb. 10, 1972, Morris Mason was diagnosed with mild mental retardation by Dr. Javier Fernandez and Mr. Buckley, psychologists at the Eastern State Hospital in Virginia. He was 17 years of age when admitted to the hospital. See Hospital admission report dated 2/9/72. WAIS scores indicated that the VIQ was 70, and FSIQ was 66.

Note 2:Terry Roach also had Huntington's Disease, causing the brain to continually deteriorate. He was executed for a crime he committed when he was 17 years old.

Note 3: At the age of 14, Jerome Bowden had an IQ of 59. The full extent of his mental retardation was not discovered until after his execution. His last IQ was estimated at 65. His conviction was based solely upon a signed statement he could not even read. He signed the statement because a police officer told him he would help him.

Note 4:Horace Dunkins's attorney never told the jury he was mentally retarded, with an IQ estimated at 65. When newspapers reported this several years later, one juror told the press she would not have voted for the death penalty had she known of his retardation. The accomplice to this crime was given a life sentence.

Note 5:There is considerable debate about the mental status of Robert Alton Harris. While significant evidence existed supporting fetal alcohol effect, there is doubt that he actually had mental retardation. The first author evaluated him in San Quentin in 1989. While deficits in adaptive skill areas were clearly noted, intellectual skills were estimated to be below average, and could not be diagnosed as mentally retarded.

Note 6:The attorney for Billy White failed to investigate and present any evidence of his life-long mental retardation. His MR was first diagnosed by the Houston Public School system in 1966, when, at age 8, Billy's IQ was estimated at 69.

Note 7:The attorney for Ricky Lee Grubbs never requested his school records or contacted any of his teachers. School records revealed IQ scores in the "borderline" range of intellectual functioning and failing grades during his first 8 years of school.

Note 8:At trial, Robert Sawyer's attorney never raised the issue of his mental capacity. Had the jury been informed of his fetal alcohol status, they would not have voted for execution. His accomplice (a younger brother) received a life sentence after turning State's evidence.

Note 9:Mario Marquez had an IQ estimated at 65, with adaptive skills of a 7 year-old. His trial counsel testified at a clemency hearing that they did not present any evidence of Mario's mental retardation becaue of a legal flaw in the Texas death penalty statute. This flaw was recognized by the Supreme Court in Penry v. Lynaugh (1989).

Note 10:It was only after Barry Fairchild was sentenced to die that mental retardation became a factor in his case. Two psychologists evaluated him and both IQ estimates were in the low 60s. However, the State's psychologist (who testified to having had no experience in mental retardation) testified that Fairchild malignered in his presentation, while the defense expert (at the time, a Ph.D. candidate in mental retardation) maintained that he could not have faked on 2 separate IQ tests and still had such a similar profile. Arkansas effectively broke their own statute when the executed Barry Lee Fairchild.

Note 11:Mata was born with water on his brain and suffered other brain damage from a severe fall when he was young.

Related Links
Death Penalty Information Center

© 2003 AdvocacyOne
About AdvocacyOne