At 10:00 a.m., the Mississippi Supreme Court will hear the case of State of Mississippi v. Willie Russell
Russell was sentenced to death for the murder of corrections officer Argentra
Cotton. In 2003 the Mississippi Supreme Court granted him a hearing to determine whether he was too intellectually disabled to be put to death pursuant to Atkins v. Virginia. The state asked to have Russell evaluated by their own expert. The request was denied; the court found that the state had had opportunities to evaluate Russell previously.
Russell put on three witnesses. The trial court found that Russell met the requirements pursuant to Atkins and vacated the death sentence. The State appeals arguing that it should have been allowed to have Russell evaluated by its own expert and that the trial court’s finding that Russell was too intellectually disabled to be put to death was error.
Watch the argument here