A man convicted of slaying two people and critically injuring a third in a drug house shooting was executed on Tuesday in Texas, despite evidence that he suffered from mental retardation, says the Huffington Post. Milton Mathis, 32, was sentenced to death in 1999, three years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that execution of the mentally retarded violated the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Intelligence tests measured Mathis’s IQ in the low 60s, well below the threshold for mild mental retardation as recognized by most states.
In 2005, however, a Texas court rejected his claims of mental impairment, siding with prosecutors who characterized Mathis as a “street smart” criminal whose behavior indicated near-normal intelligence. Federal and state courts declined to overturn the verdict, clearing the way for his execution by lethal injection in Hunstville. A last-ditch petition by Mathis’s attorneys requesting a stay of execution and a review of his case was rejected without comment by the Supreme Court. Mathis was pronounced dead at 6:53 p.m. “The system has failed me,” he said in a final statement, according to prison officials.