HOUSTON — A federal appeals court has granted a stay of execution to a Texas inmate just one day before he was scheduled to die for the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old woman during a carjacking in Houston.
A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that under recent case law and intellectual disability standards, Dexter Johnson is sufficiently intellectually impaired to disqualify him from execution.
The Supreme Court in 2002 barred execution of mentally disabled people but has given states some discretion to decide how to determine intellectual disability. However, justices have wrestled with how much discretion to allow. The 31-year-old Johnson’s attorneys say a recent evaluation shows he has an IQ of 70, which puts him in the range of intellectual disability.
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