Law: Should John Penry Die?

The court stays the execution of a mentally retarded man and reopens a death-row debate

In 1979 Johnny Paul Penry forced himself into the the house of East Texas homemaker Pamela Moseley Carpenter, 22, raped her, beat her and fatally stabbed her. Before she died, she managed to describe her killer to police. Penry later confessed to the murder. Last Thursday he was scheduled to die by lethal injection. That would hardly be a rare occurrence in the state of Texas: Penry, 44, would have been the 38th man executed in Texas this year, a record for a single state since authorities began keeping track in 1930. But less than four hours before he was scheduled...

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