Texas Executes Rickey Lynn Lewis Despite Concerns About His IQ

Texas executed convicted killer Rickey Lynn Lewis on April 9, 2013, notwithstanding concerns about his mental state.

Lewis was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman from Tyler and killing her fiancé in the course of a home burglary in 1990. A previous execution date was stayed due to arguments that Lewis had extremely poor intellectual functioning. However, more recently a court ruled in 2005 that his intellectual abilities were not an issue in the case.

Lewis was 50 and had a lengthy criminal history. He was executed in the state’s death chamber in Huntsville.

“No final appeals were filed to try to delay the execution, which was the second of the year in Texas,” reported KWTX.com.

Lewis was convicted of capital murder for shooting a man to death more than two decades ago during a home break-in and then raping the murdered man’s fiancée.

Lewis is the second execution in Texas this year. The first, Carl Blue, was put to death in February.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Texas executes far more criminals than any other state. Almost 500 people have been executed since 1976 compared to 110 in Virginia, the state which has the second highest number of executions.

Eleven more executions are scheduled in the coming months in Texas.

Texas regularly executes defendants with low levels of intelligence.

For example, Marvin Wilson was executed on August 7, 2012, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the arguments of his lawyers that he shouldn’t have been eligible for the death penalty because of his low IQ.

Wilson, 54, received a lethal injection at the state prison in Huntsville.

In putting the inmate to death, the state overruled concerns by defense attorneys and other groups about his mental capacity.

Wilson’s attorneys, in their appeal to the Supreme Court, argued he was too mentally impaired to receive capital punishment. They pointed to a 2004 psychological test that indicated his IQ was 61, which is below the generally accepted minimum competency standard of 70.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2002 that outlawed the execution of mentally impaired people, but the court left it to the individual states to establish what constitutes mental impairment.

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.