ATLANTA (CN) – A twice-convicted murderer with an IQ of 70, scheduled for execution tonight, sued Georgia, claiming the new, one-drug execution method it plans to kill him with is illegal.
Warren Hill sued the Georgia Department of Corrections in Fulton County Superior State Court.
Georgia has changed its lethal injection protocol twice in 14 months, and “continue(s) to refuse to comply with the regulations that the General Assembly has ordered them to follow,” Hill’s attorneys say in the complaint.
Last week – on July 17 – the state changed its lethal injection method “from a three-drug protocol to a one-drug protocol that has never been used in the state of George,” according to the complaint.
The state plans to execute Hill by injecting him with pentobarbital, a sleep drug, “despite the fact that its sole manufacturer has publicly stated that the drug is not safe for use in lethal injections and has imposed end-user agreements to prevent the sale of pentobarbital for use in lethal injections,” according to a footnote in the complaint.
Since 2008, Georgia, like most states that kill people by lethal injection, has used a three-drug “cocktail” to kill them: a sedative (such as pentobarbital or a related barbiturate), followed by the paralytic pancuronium bromide, and then potassium chloride to stop the heart.
The X-page complaint says nothing about why Hill is scheduled for execution.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hill was sentenced to die for beating a fellow inmate to death in 1990 with a nail-studded 2-by-6. Hill was already in prison for murdering his 18-year-old girlfriend, the newspaper reported.
The judge in Hill’s second trial found him more likely than not to be mentally disabled. Hill has an IQ of about 70, according to the Journal-Constitution. But the judge ruled that Hill’s attorney had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Hill was mentally disabled, which was the standard the state set in 1988 when it became to first state to prohibit executing the mentally disabled.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that it is unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded, but it left it up to the state to set standards for retardation. Georgia’s standard is the strictest, according to the Journal-Constitution.
Hill’s attorneys seek stay of execution because of the method by which Georgia plans to kill him. The time is set for 7 tonight.
Hill is represented by Brian Kammer and Robyn Painter, with the Georgia Resource Center.