The Guardian Monday 23rd July
Hill was sentenced to death in 1991 after a Lee County jury convicted him of murder in the 1990 bludgeoning to death of a fellow prison inmate, Joseph Handspike. At the time, Hill was serving a life prison sentence for the 1985 shooting death of his 18-year-old girlfriend, Myra Sylvia Wright.
Irrespective of general arguments relating to whether the death penalty should be used at all, there are particular reasons why Hill should not be executed. The arguments are well summarised in an article in The Guardian 23rd July . The State of Georgia was the first State in the USA to ban the execution of mentally disabled prisoners. However, the problem lies in the standard of proof demanded by Georgia. The prisoner has to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that he has learning difficulties. It appears that Georgia is the only State to apply this high standard. Other States which continue to apply the death penalty would not carry out an execution where the disability was shown on the "preponderance of the evidence." Hill has met the latter test.
As the Guardian article states: -
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