Texas is scheduled to execute Samuel Bustamante Tuesday, April 27. His attorneys are seeking to stop the execution on grounds of mental retardation, according to this Houston Chronicle article. If he is executed, he will be the 454th person executed in Texas since 1982 and the 215th person since Rick Perry became governor.
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Samuel Bustamante, 40, an El Campo laborer, is set to be executed for the crime Tuesday. He would be the seventh killer executed in the state this year and the fourth from Fort Bend County since Texas resumed executions in 1982.
Bustamante’s attorney, Philip Hilder, last week filed a state court appeal arguing that Bustmante, with an overall IQ of 71, is mildly mentally retarded and should be spared death under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2002 ruling in Atkins vs. Virginia. In that landmark decision the high court held that executing mentally retarded killers violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban against cruel and unusual punishment.
Seeks delay from court
Hilder argued that Bustamante’s abusive childhood might have been a factor in his retardation, and offered comments from the killer’s former common-law wife that he had been childlike and unable to care for himself. When sad or angered, the woman told a Baylor College of Medicine clinical neuropsychologist, Bustamante would roll into a fetal position and cry.
Hilder asked the court to grant Bustamante direct relief or to order an evidentiary hearing to consider evidence of mental retardation.
Bustamante’s accomplices, Diedrick Depriest, Arthur Escamilla and Walter Escamilla, were each sentenced to eight years for aggravated robbery. All since have been released.