Mentally Retarded Death Row Inmate Case Continued

August 13, 2007

A trial in York County, Virginia to determine whether a death row inmate is mentally retarded has been continued indefinitely.

The York County Circuit Court clerk's office says that no new trial date has been set for Daryl Atkins. Atkins was convicted of murdering Eric Nesbitt in 2003 and was scheduled to be executed in December of 2005.

His case led to a U.S. Supreme Court ban on executing the mentally retarded a few years earlier, and now Atkins' mental capacity is coming into question.

Last year the Virginia Supreme Court overturned a jury decision that Atkins wasn't mentally retarded because an expert for prosecutors was found to be unqualified to testify, and because the judge told the jury that Atkins had been sentenced to death.

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