Last-Minute Appeal Denied
The state of Texas carried out its seventh execution of the year Tuesday night. Convicted killer Marvin Williams was put to death by lethal injection in Huntsville, less than two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal. "Wilson was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m., 14 minutes after the lethal dose began," says Jason Clark with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Wilson was convicted and sentenced to die for the 1992 kidnapping, beating and fatal shooting of a police informant in Beaumont. His attorneys claimed he should have been spared because his IQ was below the threshold for mental retardation.
There were multiple witnesses on hand for the execution. "Family members from both the victim's family as well as the offender's family witnessed the execution," according to Clark. The questions about Wilson's mental state prompted activity outside, as well. "There were a handful of protesters outside," says Clark. He adds that Wilson did make a final statement. "He first looked at the victim's family, then his family, and told his son to get his life right with Christ...he said he understood he came here a sinner and is leaving a saint, then talked a little more with his family and told the warden he was ready."
Williams' appeal on the basis of mental retardation created controversy in the hours leading up to the execution. His attorneys pointed to a 2004 IQ test in which he scored a 61, below the legal threshold of 70 to determine mental impairment. But state attorneys argued that was the only test administered and that Williams' previous words and actions showed he was mentally competent.