William Henry Hance - Execution

Execution

Hance was sentenced to death in civilian court for the murder of Gail Jackson and in military court for the death of Irene Thirkield. His military death sentence for Thirkield was overturned. His civilian death sentence for Jackson was not. He was executed by the state of Georgia on March 31, 1994, via the electric chair. He was the 231st inmate executed nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court restored the death penalty in 1976 and the 18th in Georgia.

In the hours before his death, the Supreme Court voted, 6-3, not to consider his appeal. In dissent, Justice Harry Blackmun said that that even if he had not recently

...reached the conclusion that the death penalty cannot be imposed fairly within the constraints of our Constitution . . . I could not support its imposition in this case. ... There is substantial evidence that William Henry Hance is mentally retarded as well as mentally ill. There is reason to believe that his trial and sentencing proceedings were infected with racial prejudice. One of his sentencers has come forward to say that she did not vote for the death penalty because of his mental impairments.

Hance had an IQ of 75-79 points, which classifies him as "borderline intellectual functioning" on modern medical scales of mental retardation.

Read more about this topic:  William Henry Hance

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