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February 18th, 2013
04:15 PM ET

Killing Warren Hill

By Libby Lewis, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @libbylewisCNN

UPDATE: Twice-convicted killer Warren Lee Hill was granted final-hour stays of execution, his attorney said. For the full update click here.

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - It’s funny how everyone shows up asking for mercy in the end - when mercy’s all that's left.

Now they’re asking for mercy for Warren Hill who’s scheduled to die tonight in Jackson, Georgia. Hill has been on death row since 1991 for murdering one of his cellmates in prison. He was there for murdering his ex-girlfriend in 1985.

Now, Warren Hill’s lawyers and a lot of other people are asking the state of Georgia and the U.S. Supreme Court to spare Warren Hill because of his mental retardation.

Hundreds of people have joined that list, says Hill's lawyer, Brian Kammer with the Georgia Resource Center:

[:52] "Church parishioners. The special ed directors from where Mr. Hill went to school. The victim’s family. His teachers. Jimmy Carter and his wife."

The U.S. Supreme Court has banned executions of mildly mentally retarded people.

But Georgia’s standard for proving mental retardation is one of the toughest in the country.

Warren Hill grew up in rural Georgia with an IQ of 70.

His sister Peggy calls him Junior . She wrote an affidavit on her brother’s behalf – and said their mother and grandfather loved to beat Warren Hill on the head for being slow. Their mother used a cast iron lamp. The grandfather usually used a metal belt buckle.

[2:33] "He would shout 'You stupid retard!' Or 'You dumb-ass!' Junior wouldn't cry, though; he would just stand there and endure it. Junior was often beaten like this, by either Momma or Granddaddy, until he would lose consciousness. He would sleep for hours afterwards."

Eric Jacobson, who heads the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities says, unless the Supreme Court steps in, he thinks that Warren Hill will be executed.

[4:09] "What we’re doing is working with some Georgia legislators to make sure this doesn't happen again."

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soundoff (382 Responses)
  1. Flatsguide

    If Obama had a son, he would have an IQ of 70, but would have grown up in Kenya.

    February 20, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. palintwit

    Historians now say that the real reason the south lost the civil war is because generations of inbreeding resulted in large numbers of mentally challenged soldiers in the Confederate army. And their webbed feet made running from the north more difficult.

    February 20, 2013 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      And yet you are still able to post a response with your webbed fingers....

      February 20, 2013 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. E5Matt

    I am all for the death penalty, in fact I would happily lobby for legislation that decreases the time between conviction and execution, with one small caveat. Execution as a sentencing option only when irrefutable and non interpreted evidence exists; not enhanced video, DNA or willful admission in trials where the accused has an average or better ability to assist in their defense (which would apply to Warren Hill).

    The problem is that justice is the last thing that our system of justice is concerned with. Everyone involved in the process, from arrest to imprisonment, has interests taking precedence over truth, justice, deterrence and punishment. Prosecutors fight tooth and nail against the release of those proven innocent (it affects their reputation), police departments rarely investigate conflicting reports or evidence following an arrest and the jury is composed of people unable to get out of it who are chosen based upon the perceived advantage they provide one side or the other.

    Our system has one admirable tenet that is at its' foundation. The idea that it is far better for a guilty person to go free, never to be held accountable, than it is to rob an innocent person of their rights and freedom by incarcerating them for even a single day. Unfortunately, this tenet is the one most frequently forgotten or ignored.

    February 20, 2013 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
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