Mentally Handicapped Faces Florida Death

Mentally Handicapped Faces Death Row

The State of Florida is prepared to execute Freddie Lee Hall if his appeal for the court’s mercy does not hold. In February of 1978, Freddie was involved in the kidnap, rape, and murder of 21-year-old Karol Hurst, a young woman who had been grocery shopping at Pantry Pride. When she returned to the parking lot, the tragic event took place. Now the mentally handicapped man faces the death penalty.

Hall was charged with the crime and sentenced to face the death penalty despite the fact that there has been considerable doubt placed on whether he truly comprehended his actions. In order for an individual to be diagnosed as mentally handicapped, one must score lower than 70 on the Intelligence Quotient, (IQ) examination. From 1978 until 2008, Hall was subjected to numerous IQ examinations.

Each of the examinations revealed that he was operating on a considerably low quotient of intelligence. On average, his scores were below the required mark of 70. His highest score was 72, but when all these factors were averaged together, he scored a 72.66; however, there is a standard deviation within the test that allows for results to be accurate within five points plus or minus the actual score.

This means that Hall’s scores are right on target with the national estimation for mental handicapped capacity that is deemed far lower than average intelligence. A score of up to 75 can still warrant a diagnosis of mental handicap if other factors are present, such as a noted inability to perform tasks necessary to the activities of daily living, such as dressing, preparing food, and cleaning one’s self.

It has been established that Freddie Lee Hall can do none of these things for himself. The burning question has been if he cannot take care of himself, and if his intelligence is so low that he does not have a true grasp of reality, how then, is it either lawful of fair that a person such as he face the death penalty for something he did that he may not understand?

This is not to negate the devastation that he caused by playing a part in the assault and murder of Karol Hurst. In fact, it was a terrible ordeal. An ordeal that, according to his medical evaluations, Hall did not comprehend. The State of Florida has a different opinion. The State has disputed this claim, stating that they believe he and his accomplice were following a detailed plan in which they had carefully mapped out their course.

That day, the two lead police on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle, which the state pleads the court to recognize as proof of Hall’s capacity to at least understand that he needed to accomplish the crimes in a vehicle less identifiable than their own. Also, since Freddie Lee Hall was the eldest of the two, he was the one who had obtained a gun for the crime. In addition, Hall had a prior conviction of sexual assault, in which he attempted to remove the eyes from his victim in order to make his appearance more difficult to identify.

At the time of the kidnapping and murder of Karol Hurst, Hall was on parole for the previous incident. In addition to all the evidence available, Hall’s attorney claims that he was abused as a child at the hands of his mother, who allegedly beat him many times per week due to her great frustration with him being mentally handicapped.

The investigation into these claims on both sides will continue for a while longer. No answer is expected to be given until sometime in the month of June, 2014. Until then Freddie Lee Hall the mentally handicapped man, will continue to face death penalty.

By J.A. Johnson


Los Angeles Times

Christian Scientist Monitor

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