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N.C. House Agrees to Executions Ban

 

JULY 18, 06:17 EST

 

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina's House approved a ban on executions of mentally retarded inmates after legislators whose family members were murdered spoke in favor of it. North Carolina is the latest state to take up the divisive issue. Sixteen states have banned executions of the mentally retarded, with Missouri the latest to approve such legislation two weeks ago. The North Carolina legislation would ban executions for anyone with an IQ of 70 or less and require a defendant to exhibit evidence of mental retardation prior to the crime. ``If I could speak to daddy tonight, he would say, `If the person that murdered me was mentally incompetent, don't kill him,''' said Republican Rep. Wilma Sherrill, whose father was slain 20 years ago at a tobacco barn. Many of Sherrill's Republican colleagues voted against the bill, saying it was an attempt to erode the death penalty in the state. The measure was approved 64-44 and sent to the Senate, where a similar version has been approved.