St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said Friday that St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Phil Seay reset the trial of Taurus Carroll, 34, for Sept. 17. The trial was previously set for May 21.
Carroll is charged with the Sept. 14, 2009 capital murder of Michael Turner, 24, who was serving a three-year sentence from Montgomery County for robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Seay also ruled on Carroll’s Atkins hearing, which took place in April, and determined that Carroll is not “mentally retarded.”
Minor said any criminal defendant in Alabama who alleges they are mentally retarded must have an Atkins hearing to determine whether or not they are eligible for the death penalty. An individual found by the court to be mentally retarded cannot receive a sentence of death under U.S. and Alabama law.
Minor said the Code of Alabama defines mental retardation as “a person with significant sub-average general intellectual functioning resulting in or associated with concurrent impairments in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period.”
Minor said to meet that definition, the defendant first must show significant sub-average intellectual functioning—an IQ of 70 or below. Second, the defendant must show significant or substantial deficits in adaptive behavior. Third, those problems must have manifested themselves during the developmental period, before age 18. In order to be classified as mentally retarded under Atkins in Alabama, all three of those criteria must be met.
According to the court ruling, “The defendant has failed to meet his burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he suffers from ‘mental retardation’ as defined under Alabama law. Therefore, this Court finds that based on the testimony and evidence presented, that the defendant is not ‘mentally retarded’ under the laws of Alabama, and is eligible to receive the death penalty for the charged offense of Capital Murder.”
Carroll is currently serving life without the possibility of parole stemming from a 1998 capital murder conviction in Jefferson County.
He was removed from the general inmate population in September 2009 after Turner was stabbed to death.
According to the first count of the indictment Carroll “did intentionally cause the death of Michael Darrell Turner by stabbing him with a prison made knife,” and that Carroll caused that death after having been convicted of another murder within the last 20 years.
The second count of the indictment, also for capital murder, stated Carroll intentionally caused Turner’s death while under the sentence of life in prison.
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