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Texas

Second Execution of the Year Set for Thursday

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Texas' second execution of 2015 is set for today at 6 p.m. in Huntsville. Robert Ladd was convicted of the sexual assault and murder of a Tyler, Tex., woman in 1996.

Ladd has spent 17 years on death row; he is 57 now.

The sexual assault and murder for which he's condemned occurred during a burglary at the home of the 38-year-old victim. Ladd was out on parole for another murder when he committed the 1996 murder.

Ladd's attorneys filed a motion for stay of execution and a writ of habeas corpus in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Wednesday based on the inmate's IQ of 67, and the motion was denied by Judge Elsa Alcala. Lawyers from the ACLU also asked the Supreme Court to intervene because of Ladd's IQ, which puts him below the generally accepted mental impairment threshold of 70 IQ points. The federal court hasn't yet ruled on that matter. 

Texas does not have any laws about sparing the mentally impaired from the death penalty.

In 2003, Ladd was scheduled for execution. At that time, the federal court spared his life at the last moment based on his IQ. Since then, however, courts have consistently denied Ladd's appeals based on the same. 

His was supposed to be the third execution of the year, but a motion for stay from Garcia White's lawyers was granted by a judge on Tuesday, putting off White's scheduled Wednesday execution. It was the fourth motion for stay filed in that case. The stay was granted "pending further orders from the court," according to Abel Acosta of the court of appeals. He says his office does not yet know when the judge will render a decision as far as the next steps for White's case.

Texas executions are carried out by lethal injection of the drug pentobarbital. An AP story late last year reported that the state had "enough of the execution drug pentobarbital to carry out the first five lethal injections scheduled for 2015." That fact was confirmed by Jason Clark of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice just prior to the Jan. 21 execution of Arnold Prieto.

That means that after Ladd's injection today, there will be enough pentobarbital for three more: just enough to make it through Rodney Reed's execution, scheduled for March 5.

Clark said on Jan. 21 that the department "continues to explore all options including the continued use of pentobarbital or an alternate(s) drug in the lethal injection process."

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