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Mentally challenged killer should get death penalty, readers say

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Demonstrators show support for Warren Hill and protest the death penalty in Georgia. (Associated Press)

Intelligence has nothing to do with murder, and convicted killer Warren Hill should be put to death no matter how low his IQ is, say many readers.

Hill, who has an IQ of 70, murdered two people in separate incidents in Jackson, Ga., and he is now on death row.

A panel of psychologists has agreed he is "mildly mentally retarded" and should, therefore, avoid the death penalty. Georgia's lawmakers are now studying whether or not burden of proof for mentally disabled inmates on death row is too harsh, a CBC article notes.

But there is no need for any further study, according to most readers who commented on our story. Although some are conflicted in what the state's next steps should be, most commenters argue that Hill should be punished no matter what.

"A person considered borderline retarded should not be executed. Obviously, this person did not have a typical upbringing," writes JohnN. "This about all the good role models you've had growing up, and all the resources you've used to obtain a good education. Now think of all the people who don't have that -- not so easy to judge now, is it?"

Adds commenter Hows' That: "Mental incompetence demands that the perpetrator be put away, not just killed."

The debate about whether the U.S. -- or any country -- should allow the death penalty aside, many readers say smarts are not a weighty factor in any murder case.

"Anyone that kills another person should be put to death. IQ has nothing to do with it," writes ibelievemaybe.

"After not one but two murders, I don't care what his IQ is. Strap him down," writes Andrew Of Richmond.

"If people like this killer can't be held to the same standard as the rest of us they shouldn't be allowed the same freedoms," writes kennybrae.

After all, people of all levels of intelligence are capable of killing, add readers.

"You won't find a lot of Thomas Edisons or Albert Einsteins among the criminal population," writes Miles Archer.

"Conrad Black may have some thoughts on that," replies commenter HELLO! I'm GIRTH PORTLY!

If anything, the dealth penalty decision in Hill's case should be determined not by how smart he is, but by whether he knew the difference between right and wrong, readers say.

"My experience with people who are clearly intellectually handicapped tells me that even the very low functioning people know that it's wrong to lose their temper and hurt someone," writes McFidgety. "Someone who knows right from wrong and was mentally lucid at the time of the crime should be accountable under the law."

"Is not the crux of the matter ... that he understands the difference of right from wrong? As it appears he does, he should suffer the consequences of his actions according to law," writes Tarquin Mathers.

As always, we appreciate your comments. Please feel free to continue the conversation below.

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