Court Stops Texas Execution With Just Hours to Spare
Lawyers for Robert James Campbell will get time to prove he has 'intellectual disability'
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2014 5:30 PM CDT
Robert James Campbell   (Texas corrections department)

(Newser) – The nation's first execution since Oklahoma's botched one won't take place this evening after all, but this time the issue isn't about the drugs involved, reports CNN. A federal appeals court in Texas stayed the execution of Robert James Campbell, ruling that his lawyers deserve more time to make the case that he is mildly retarded and thus ineligible for the death penalty. The ruling came about two hours and 30 minutes before the 41-year-old rapist and murderer was to be taken to the death chamber.

"It is regrettable that we are now reviewing evidence of intellectual disability at the eleventh hour before Campbell's scheduled execution," wrote the justices. "However, from the record before us, it appears that we cannot fault Campbell or his attorneys, present or past, for the delay." Campbell has an IQ of 69, and the AP reports that courts generally set 70 as the minimum threshold for execution. Campbell's lawyers actually filed two appeals, the other one arguing that the execution shouldn't go forward because Texas will not reveal the source of its lethal drugs. But the same court rejected that appeal last night. Campbell abducted and murdered bride-to-be Alexandra Rendon in 1991, and the 20-year-old was buried in her wedding dress.

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Lou Bernardo
May 14, 2014 10:19 PM CDT
Too bad the bleeding hearts don't take time to know the facts of the horrible death his victim suffered. All the feely touchy emotions of the do-gooders fail to look into the facts of why he was sentenced to a death penalty like he decided his innocent victim should suffer.
May 14, 2014 6:32 PM CDT
I would have to say that given the average IQ of black people in general half of them would be safe from a death sentence if 70 is to be the bench mark.
May 14, 2014 11:37 AM CDT
Let me clarify a little more. There is a difference between killing and murder. The Ten Commandments do not say, "Thou shalt not kill". I have learned it says "Thou shalt not murder thy neighbor". Under special circumstances, killing is justified. Of course I can only give my subjective definitions at this point. This issue is extremely subjective. To me, killing is justified in a just war. But to me, a just war is only one of defense. All other wars are not just. Therefore, killing that occurs in an unjust war is murder. Put more bluntly, the last just war fought by the United States was World War 2. The only nation I can think of which is currently involved in a just war is Israel. There are probably others but I don't know what they are. Killing, or execution by the state is also justified. Again subjectively, I have a list of crimes which qualify for the death penalty which is not shared by most others. All I can say is that my list does not mention the state of mental illness. Lastly, in general principle, because God wishes law and order and not anarchy and chaos among humans, he has sanctioned execution by the state. The Bible says something about how the authorities "do not wield the sword for nothing". But of course, we humans really mess up everything we do.