Ga. Supreme Court to hear Warren Hill case

The Georgia Supreme Court will hear an appeal of an order that ordered the last-minute stay of execution for a man whose attorneys say should not be put to death because he is mentally handicapped, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Warren Lee Hill’s execution was stayed after his attorneys challenged a new state law that keeps private the names of companies that provide to the state the drugs used in lethal injections. The new law, which took effect July 1, was passed following a shortage of one of the drugs used in executions.

Hill was sentenced to death on Aug. 2, 1991 for the August 1990 slaying of a fellow inmate, Joseph Handspike. At the time of Handspike’s murder, Hill was serving a life sentence for murdering his girlfriend, according to state officials.

Hill was also scheduled to die last year, but the state Supreme Court issued an 11th hour stay of execution. The state’s Supreme Court declined to stop the execution based on Hill’s claim that he is mentally disabled, but agreed to hold off while a change to the state’s execution protocol — in which state Department of Corrections officials said they will start using “a single drug protocol” for executions in part because of a drug shortage was challenged.

Hill was subsequently set to die in February, but a federal appeals court stepped in and ordered a halt to the execution. The court lifted the stay in April, paving the way for this month’s planned execution.

If executed, Hill will be the 31st inmate in Georgia executed by lethal injection.

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