A Missouri inmate was put to death early today for fatally beating a 63-year-old woman with a hammer in 1998, the state's record 10th lethal injection of 2014 to match Texas for the most executions in the country this year. Paul Goodwin, 48, sexually assaulted Joan Crotts in St. Louis County, pushed her down a flight of stairs, and beat her in the head with a hammer. He was a former neighbor who felt Crotts played a role in getting him kicked out of a boarding house. Efforts to spare Goodwin's life centered on his low IQ and claims that executing him would violate a US Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the death penalty for the mentally disabled.
Goodwin had an IQ of 73, his attorney says, and some tests suggested it was even lower. Goodwin's sister wrote in a statement that the death penalty "is not a just punishment for his crime—an act that occurred out of passion, not premeditation, by a man with the mental capabilities of a child, not an adult." But Goodwin's fate was sealed when Gov. Jay Nixon denied a clemency request and the US Supreme Court turned down two appeals—one on the mental competency question and one concerning Missouri's use of an execution drug purchased from an unidentified compounding pharmacy. (Read more Missouri stories.)