A low IQ has had a Birmingham man’s death penalty reduced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Harold James Burch, 32, was convicted of capital murder in November for shooting 29-year-old Jacobi Bennett in April 2012. He was also charged for attempted murder and burglary. Burch also attempted to shoot his ex-girlfriend in the incident but she managed to escape with injuries.
Many people believe this sentence does not make sense because you would think that someone who is not that smart and evil is someone that should not be living anyway.
Just another excuse not to eliminate another evil person
Burch’s sentencing took place before Jefferson County Circuit Judge Teresa Pulliam. According to Birmingham Alabama criminal defense attorneys, the lesser sentence is due to low IQ which rules out death penalty. In 2002, the US Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional in the Atkins vs. Virginia case to assign the death penalty to a retarded defendant.
$60,000 per year to keep a criminal alive in prison
Birmingham Alabama criminal defense attorneys say that Alabama law requires specific conditions to be met for anyone to be considered mentally retarded in a criminal defense case. The IQ must be below normal, the individual must lack the ability to behave in society as compared with other defendant’s his or her age, and must have proof that the condition set in before the defendant turned 18.
Following deliberations and an Atkins hearing two months prior to Burch’s trial, one evaluation showed that he scored 53 on an IQ test. Upon assessment by the State Department of Mental Health it was determined that his IQ was extremely low for normal intellectual functioning. Subsequently, Judge Pulliam ruled that the Burch could not be given the death penalty since he met the state’s criteria for intellectual disability.
Birmingham teen gets 25 years after plea deal in slaying of 5 men
Reginald Mims is one of three teens charged with capital murder to plead guilty for killing 5 men in 2012. The Birmingham teen was awarded a 25 year prison term after pleading guilty on multiple counts of felony murder. According to his criminal defense attorney, Mims reached a plea deal with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.
He pleaded guilty to five counts of felony murder after the capital murder charges were reduced, and to one count of first degree robbery. In view of the plea agreement, he was sentenced by Judge Wallace to 25 years in prison for the five felony counts and first-degree robbery.
Mims faced six counts of capital murder for the Jan. 29th, 2012 shootings of five men at a house at 3113 Ave S, in the Ensley Highlands neighborhood. Demetrius Sanford was the youngest victim at 19, while Jonathan Sanchez and Jeffery Davis Jr. were 23 year olds. Charles Render, 21, and Ronnie Render, 42, were the others shot by Mims.
According to Birmingham Alabama criminal defense attorneys, such type of a sentence is expected in a plea bargain where all sentences run concurrent. Mims will spend 25 years in prison and would be given credit for the time he has already spent in jail. Several members of the victims’ families were in court and were aware of the plea deal. Mims two accomplices, Rashad Stoves and Artavius Underwood, were also charged with capital murder. The latter has pleaded guilty and is in the process of serving out a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
If you have questions regarding a criminal defense matter, visit www.paulksicinskilaw.com today.