Missouri Poised to Execute Individual with Significant Intellectual Disabilities

Despite Missouri law and a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the execution of persons with mental retardation (now known as intellectual disability), Missouri is poised to kill an individual with obvious limited intellectual capabilities.

Paul Goodwin, scheduled to be executed on December 10, meets the criteria for intellectual disability under Missouri law-including low IQ scores, significant deficits in adaptive skills (i.e. life skills and communication). Evidence of his disability existed well before the age of 18.

Throughout his school years, Goodwin received services from the Special School District in St. Louis.  He failed two grades and had low IQ scores.  As an adult he needed help with basic living skills, such as managing money and performing ordinary tasks.  Even now at age 48, those who know Goodwin see him as a “simple-minded kid” who often exhibits childish, immature behavior.  Unfortunately, no court has fully examined his claims of intellectual disability.

Paul Goodwin needs to be held accountable for the murder of Joan Crotts, but it is inappropriate for someone with his level of disability to be given the ultimate punishment.  Modern society recognizes that the death penalty is not meant to be used upon people, like Paul Goodwin, who have diminished capacity and diminished culpability.  He can be adequately punished by spending the rest of his life in prison.

Please contact Governor Jay Nixon at 573-751-3222 or by clicking here and ask that he halt the execution of Paul Goodwin.  The execution of a person with significant intellectual disability would serve no purpose and would diminish us all.

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