Marvin Wilson, a mentally disable of 53 years old, is not anymore alive. Yesterday he received one doses of pentobarbital. He is the second person to receive one lethal injection instead of three. Even the last person who was executed in July, Yokamon Yearn, had mental problems.
Marvin Wilson was mentally retarded, due to alcohol abuse of his mother during his foetus life, but this problem wasn’t brought out clearly during the trial.
Marvin Wilson had difficulties to count and even to tie his shoes. His intelligence quotient was measured 61, Texas disputed the accuracy of the mental tests and ignored the sentence of the Constitutional Court that banned the execution of mentally retarded people since 2002.
This case was already full of “ halls”, in fact it was never made clear if he was really involved in the killing of a police drug informant. Another person charged with him, who was sentenced to life, accused Marvin to be the murder. Obviously Marvin Wilson was not capable to defend himself. This execution is like many others but at the same time is different because is against a mentally retarded person and for this reason against low, even if this low gives to each American states the capability of deciding who is mentally retarded and who is not, who can be considered responsible of a crime and who is not.
Once again death penalty does not depend on the kind of crime that has been committed or on the need of the society to effectively protect itself but it depends on where you were born, in America or in any other parts of the world.
The execution of Marvin Wilson is a horror linked to the horror of any death sentence or execution. This execution shows more and more clearly how death penalty is useless, violent, irrational and it’s a State revenge done in cold blood, it’s the horror of an extreme penalty used against a person who is not even aware of daily life things.
The Community of Sant’Egidio joins its voice to the one of the victims, of all those who were killed many years ago and of the family of Marvin Wilson, of the activists for human rights in Texas and of all those who have been working to stop the death machine for this case as for all the others. We are particularly impressed by the similarity of this case with the one of John Paul Penry, also in Texas.
A mentally retarded man to who more than once has been announced the execution date. In 1999 after receiving his last meal, a dabble cheeseburger with chips, the machine of death was stopped. In fact the Community of Sant’Egidio organized a world wide campaign to reopen the case of Penry. After the Supreme Court of United States cancelled two times the death sentence the State of Texas tried three times to sentence him again. To stop this torture, that lasted thirty years, the case was closed with a plea bargaining. Penry is alive Wilson has been killed. He was killed against any commonsense, against the low even if legal handholds were used to execute him “ legally”.
The Community of Sant’Egidio, the Hands off Cain, the Italian Government and Reprive have been working and standing out against lethal injection and succeed to make one of the drug that was used to kill impossible to find. It is more than a decade that United States is at its lower rate of executions. Also in Texas the number of convictions and executions are decreasing. But even one execution is too much. Death penalty not only creates new victims but humiliates the whole society. The horror of Marvin Wilson execution makes this even more clear. Death penalty has to be stopped, has to become something of the past, like slavery and torture. Any execution is inhuman and increases the level of violence within a society. The battle continues. Also for Texas.