LAKE CHARLES, La. — The only person from Calcasieu Parish on death row will be examined by a panel of mental health experts to determine whether he fits the mental standards to be put to death.
Jason Reeves is in prison for the rape and stabbing death of 4-year-old Mary Jean Thigpen in 2001.
Reeves' attorneys argue he does not fit the mental competency standards to be put to death. A score of 70 or below is often used as the threshold of intellectual disability. However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling said states cannot execute someone simply because their IQ is above 70. The court said tests' margin of error must be considered, as well as other factors.
On Tuesday, the American Press reports (http://bit.ly/1eOXZNb) state Judge Mike Canaday said in court that Reeves scored an 85 on an IQ test on May 9, 2002, six months after the crime. More recently, Reeves scored a 75. Claims of Reeves' mental deficiency have only been brought up since he was convicted.
Canaday appointed psychologist Lawrence Dilks, as well as psychiatrist Dr. Patrick Hayes.
Canaday also wanted to appoint psychiatrist Dr. James Anderson, but prosecutor Carla Sigler told the judge that Anderson had previously been consulted by the District Attorney's Office, although the psychiatrist had neither seen Reeves nor made a diagnosis.
Kathy Kelly, an attorney with the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana, objected to Anderson's appointment, and Canaday agreed not to put him on the panel. Canaday may add another doctor, he said.
After the panel examines Reeves, the doctors are to submit their reports to the court by Sept. 29, and another hearing is to be held Oct. 8.
Reeves was scheduled to be put to death Aug. 15, 2012, but a stay was granted.
Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com