We finally found one type of person North Carolina does not like to execute: the mentally retarded. The legislature prevented the execution of the retarded in 2001 and defined retardation as scoring below 70 on an IQ test and showing poor life skills before the age of 18. This has saved 12 individuals from the death penalty, including Elton McLaughlin recently. From the Myrtle Beach Online:
A Bladen County man convicted of killing three people was removed from North Carolina's death row after a federal judge ruled that an IQ test given to him in the 1960s was valid.
U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle, in a decision released earlier this month, said Elton O. McLaughlin, 55, should not be executed for murdering three people in 1984. The decision makes McLaughlin the 12th death row inmate in the state spared because of mental retardation.
McLaughlin was released from death row because Boyle ruled that a test that showed McLaughlin had an IQ of 70 was valid, even though it was administered by a teacher and not by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, as state law requires.
McLaughlin was 10 years old when he took the test.