Texas executed Robert Ladd, 57, after appeals to spare his life due to diminished mental capacity all failed.
Ladd received a lethal injection of pentobarbital, said that the drug was stinging his arm, and then took deep breaths before snoring and passing away 27 minutes later. Before receiving the drug, he addressed the sister of his victim, Vickie Ann Garner.
"I really, really hope and pray you don't have hatred in your heart," Ladd said. "A revenge death won't get you anything."
"Let's ride," he then told the warden, who proceeded with the execution.
Attorneys appealed to the Supreme Court, who turned down a review of Ladd's case. Yet Ladd's lawyers persisted to spare their client, who had tested at an IQ of 67 in 1970. It's an assertion that could have possibly kept Ladd in prison rather than given the death penalty since numerous courts refuse to put inmates with an IQ of 70 or below to death.
Garner's sister, Teresa Wooten, spoke with KYTX on the eve of Ladd's death and said it had been a long time coming, that her family had been through several ups and downs in the 18 years since Garner's death.
"I am 100 percent sure that Robert Ladd committed the crime," she said. "No doubt. He's definitely an uneducated man. He is not a mentally retarded man, and there is a huge difference."
Ladd's death comes in the same week that Georgia executed Warren Lee Hill, a man whose own mental capacity was in question. He had an IQ of "approximately 70" or below and lawyers argued that he should have been retested just before his death.
"Today, the Court has unconscionably allowed a grotesque miscarriage of justice to occur in Georgia," Hill's lawyer, Brian Kammer, told WSBTV. "Georgia has been allowed to execute an unquestionably intellectually disabled man, Warren Hill, in direct contravention of the Court's clear precedent prohibiting such cruelty."
"Ladd's deficits are well documented, debilitating and significant," Ladd's lawyer, Brian Stull, said in his appeal. The death "is yet another example of how capital punishment routinely defies the rule of law and human decency."