Despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring execution of the mentally
retarded, Virginia plans to put to death a man state evaluations say
appears to be retarded.
The evaluations also describe death-row inmate Percy Levar Walton as
schizophrenic and psychotic.
Walton, scheduled to die Wednesday in the electric chair, said yesterday
he has no idea why he chose the chair as his method of execution for
robbing and killing 3 neighbors in a Danville apartment complex in 1996.
"I don't even know," he said in a phone interview from death row at Sussex
I State Prison in Waverly. "I think my man with the blue shirt, he circled
one of the words. He may have been my counselor. He asked me,
'Electrocution or lethal injection.' I told him I wanted electrocution. I
don't know [why]."
Walton "is severely mentally ill. He is extremely psychotic," said his
attorney, Jennifer Givens. "I'm sure he does not even know he chose"
She said he is also mentally retarded. An April 30 mental-health
evaluation by the state Department of Corrections found that Walton
"appears to be severely [mentally] retarded."
Another evaluation on May 14 said Walton was schizophrenic and psychotic
with an IQ of 66 but that he understands he is to be put to death on May
28 and "knows that he was convicted of several murders." The report also
says Walton "doesn't shower, talks to himself at night and during the day,
and . . . bangs on walls."
The IQ test that returned the 66 score is "not the gold standard for IQ
testing," the May 14 report said, noting that previous testing of Walton
"shows no mental retardation." The AP obtained copies of Corrections'
Carrie Cantrell, spokeswoman for Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, said
the previous testing by Walton's own experts found he was not retarded.
She declined to comment on the department's findings.
A state official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Walton has
tested above 70 before but that the retardation issue is raised in his
clemency request, which includes the department's medical documents. The
office of Gov. Mark R. Warner said it could not comment on a pending
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that executing mentally retarded people
is unconstitutionally cruel. A person with an IQ of 70 or lower is
generally considered mentally retarded.
Condemned inmates in Virginia are required to choose between the electric
chair or lethal injection at least 15 days before their execution.
Walton, 24, would be the second consecutive inmate to be electrocuted in
Virginia. Earl C. Bramblett, convicted of murdering a Roanoke County
couple and their 2 young daughters, died in the electric chair at the
Greensville Correctional Center on April 9.
Walton pleaded guilty in 1997 to 3 counts of capital murder for a series
of slayings in Danville in November 1996.
Jesse and Elizabeth Kendrick, a couple in their 80s, were discovered by
their daughter and police inside their town house. Each had been shot once
in the top of the head. Two days later, police found the body of Archie
Moore, 33, inside a closet in his apartment.
Walton said yesterday that he has no idea why he murdered Moore and the
Kendricks. "Oh, I don't even know," he said.
On the 1st day of Walton's 2-day sentencing hearing, an inmate testified
how Walton enthusiastically described every move he made in killing the 3
people and their reactions, including telling Mrs. Kendrick to shut up
after she pleaded for her life. Walton smiled and laughed often during his
In February, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Walton's
claims that his trial lawyer made several mistakes, including failing to
produce mitigating mental-health evidence during the sentencing.
The Supreme Court has also rejected appeals by Walton, but his attorneys
filed another one Monday with the high court.
Mumbling and rambling through the interview, Walton seemed confused when
asked if he was afraid of dying. "Nah, I ain't. I'm all right." Then he
added, "I don't even know."
Walton said he did not know how long he had been in prison. "What year is
it now?" he said.
Well, if it were Minnesota or Illinois, he would most likely be in a secure psychiatric facility. I'm not so sure though, with our current Republican governer who is starting to make Minnesota appear more like an old Southern state. What would the State of Virginia do if a person did not choose a method of execution?
this is totally pathetic. virginia should be even more ashamed of itself for allowing this particular execution to take place, not that any are acceptable.
mr coffee: most states, if the inmate refuses to choose, go with lethal injection because it's deemed "more humane". after the tiny davis fiasco in florida, it's beyond me why electric chairs still exist.
executions are simply premeditated murder....ac
did the laws of the courts fail him or did other criminals???
dont get me wrong if this man is mentaly impaired then the best thing that could happen to him is being locked up and given treatment, not straped down and executed because the law says so.
But take a minute and think of how many people try to use that defence in court!! How many mentaly compatent people get to get a light sentance, or nothing at all because of this kind of defence, while some poor soul who cant even write there name, and IS mentaly impared,gets somthing like the death penalty!!
i cant understand why some states (texas) have a thing called the M.R.O.P (mentaly retarted offenders program) inmate. what the state tells the new arrivals is that the test is to see how smart they are, because the ones that are not as smart are put on a special wing with councelors,and other priveleges not given to the General population.
I know this as i was a Guard in Texas at the BETO1 unit in Tenn. colony for 5 years befor i quit because of things like that,,all they had to do was fail the test and get special treatment. and i can tell you 80% of the inmates on a b c &d wing were as smart as me and you.
to me that is where the condemed man needs to be,Not executed. but give the DA a win and then he will go for the max that can be invoked, instead of looking deep at the prisoner and wonder if there is a chance for him, and what will be gained by his death except another feather in his hat!!
I wish you all the best of luck with your loved ones,as in this court system we got now ,hell we will all need it