Lawyers Say Man Sentenced To Death Is Mentally Ill

Jul 15, 2014

Mug shot of Frank Williams Jr.
Credit Arkansas Department of Correction

Lawyers for a man who was sentenced to death for an Arkansas murder more than 20 years ago argue their client has a mental disability.

The Texarkana Gazette reports that a California psychologist testified that 47-year-old Frank Williams Jr. is mentally disabled.

Williams was found guilty of capital murder in the October 1992 shooting death of farmer Clyde Spence in Lafayette County.

State and federal laws prohibit the death penalty for offenders who are mentally disabled. A jury will determine whether Williams should receive a new sentence of life without parole instead of death by lethal injection.

The state's supreme court recently overturned his sentence and sent the case back to trial court for another look at punishment.