Convicted killer gets new execution date

Warren Lee Hill

Warren Lee Hill

LEESBURG, Ga. -- Warren Lee Hill Jr., a twice-convicted killer some say is retarded, has been given a new date for execution. According to Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Hill's latest date with death by lethal injection is set for July 15 at 7 p.m.

In a statement, Olens said the Superior Court of Lee County filed an order Wednesday setting a seven-day window in which Hill's execution may take place. The window begins at noon July 13 and ends at noon July 20. According to Olens, the July 15 date was set by the commissioner of the Department of Corrections.

Hill was convicted and sentenced to death for the brutal murder of his Lee Correctional Institution cellmate, Joseph Handspike, in 1990. According to Olens' Atlanta office, Hill was then serving a life sentence for murdering his 18-year-old girlfriend, Myra Wright, in 1986.

In a later appeal, Hill alleged that he was mentally retarded and therefore ineligible for execution under Georgia law. According to Olens, Hill had never scored in the retarded range on any of the various IQ tests he'd been given. In fact, the information supplied by Olens' office indicated Hill had served in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of Seaman Second Class. When incarcerated for the death of his girlfriend, an evaluation determined Hill to be "of average intelligence or better." Hill was transferred to Lee Correctional Institution in August, 1989, officials say.

Still, according to a recent article in The Huffington Post, one of Hill's lawyers, Brian Kammer, maintains that Hill's retardation should be clear enough.

"The new evidence shows that every mental health expert ever to examine him finds that Mr. Hill has mental retardation and he is thus ineligible for execution under the U.S. Constitution," Kammer stated in the Huffington Post article.

Hill's previous date of execution was set for Feb. 19, but he was granted a stay by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that same day.