Judge: Man convicted of killing Moss Bluff girl, 4, not mentally disabled


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LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana — A man convicted in 2004 of raping and murdering a 4-year-old girl does not have an intellectual disability that would bar his execution, a Calcasieu Parish judge has ruled.

State District Judge Michael Canady ruled Friday that 40-year-old Jason Manuel Reeves is not mentally disabled, The American Press (http://bit.ly/1DQfKa6 ) reports.

Canaday signed a death warrant for Reeves in 2012, after he was convicted of raping and killing Mary Jean Thigpen in November 2001.

A scheduled execution date was postponed after attorneys filed an appeal claiming Reeves had an intellectual disability, which would have barred execution under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. A person whose intelligence quotient is lower than 70 is considered disabled, but the high court has ruled that it's not a hard and fast number, and a range around 70 should be considered.

Reeves reportedly has scored between 74 and 85 on intelligence tests.

During a week-long hearing in March, three mental health experts hired by the defense testified that Reeves does have an intellectual disability, while two hired by the court and one by the prosecution testified that he does not.

"While (Reeves) is of low to average intelligence, he does not show significant limitations of intellectual function," Canaday wrote.

The ruling is likely to be appealed, the newspaper reported.

Reeves' attorney, Kathleen Kelly of the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana, did not immediately respond to The Associated Press' emailed request for comment Sunday.

Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com

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