The Jackson Clarion-Ledger posts the AP report, "Death penalty thrown out for mentally disabled man." It's by Holbrook Mohr.
The Mississippi Supreme Court has thrown out the death sentence of Howard Dean Goodin on grounds that he’s mentally disabled.
Goodin, now 58, was sentenced to death in the November 1998 robbery and fatal shooting of Union store owner Willis Rigdon.
The court ruled Thursday that a “preponderance of the evidence” shows Goodin is mentally disabled. The justices returned the case to Newton County Circuit Court for resentencing.
The only sentencing options for a capital murder conviction are death or life without parole. Inmates found to be mentally disabled are not eligible for the death penalty.
“We find the trial court’s conclusion that Goodin is not mentally retarded to be clearly erroneous,” Presiding Justice George C. Carlson Jr. wrote in the court’s opinion.
The Mississippi Supreme Court ruling in Goodin v. Mississippi is available in Adobe .pdf format.
As I often point out, mental retardation is now generally referred to as a developmental or intellectual disability. Because it has a specific meaning with respect to capital cases, I continue to use the older term.