A case that began with a child’s brutal murder in the basement of an abandoned Cincinnati building goes to the U.S. Supreme Court today, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. The court’s decision could mean life or death for the killers convicted in the 1992 case – even though they may be retarded. Aaron Raines, 10, was kidnapped from a park; police found his body that night.
In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that mentally retarded defendants were ineligible for the death penalty. An Ohio could then determined that one of the convicts in the Cincinnati case was was mentally retarded and should be moved off death row. The other defendant’s claim of mental retardation with the court is pending. The high court now must decide whether holding a post-conviction hearing to determine the mental capacity of anyone sentenced to death before the 2002 ruling violates double jeopardy.