Florida's death penalty will return to the Supreme Court, this time in a case testing a jury's responsibility for determining whether a defendant is intellectually disabled, McClatchy Newspapers reports. The court said today it would hear a challenge brought by Florida inmate Timothy Hurst. He was convicted in 2000 for the murder of a fast-food restaurant manager who was bound, gagged, and stabbed multiple times.
Hurst’s attorneys argue that he is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty. Hurst's mother was 15 years old when she gave birth, and she testified that she drank all day throughout her pregnancy. She said her son was “slow, very slow” while growing up, and he reportedly struggled with everyday activities. A brain scan showed serious abnormalities. One test recorded his IQ at 69. The Florida Supreme Court ruled the jury did not have to make a determination of whether Hurst was, in fact, intellectually disabled and thus ineligible for execution.