Man Who Claimed to Be Retarded is Executed in Arkansas
Sep. 01, 1995
VARNER, Ark. (AP) _ A man who claimed he should not be executed because he was mentally retarded was put to death by injection Thursday night for the 1983 kidnapping, rape and murder of an Air Force nurse.
Barry Lee Fairchild, 41, and his lawyers claimed that he was incapable of distinguishing right from wrong when he abducted Marjorie Mason, 22, while she was shopping for furniture.
Fairchild had confessed to the abduction and rape, but not the killing.
A federal judge ruled Aug. 3 that Fairchild was not the triggerman, although Arkansas law allows the death penalty for accomplices to murder. A second suspect has never been named.
Tests showed that Fairchild's IQ was as low as 60 or as high as 87. Under an Arkansas law passed last year, the state cannot execute anyone with an IQ under 65. The law did not apply in Fairchild's case because the murder was 12 years ago.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected Fairchild's 11th-hour appeal without comment. No dissent was noted in the decision.
Prison spokesman Alan Ables said Fairchild declined a final meal and had no final statement. He said Fairchild's lawyers provided him with $50 for incidentals in his last days, and about half of it was spent on candy and junk food.
Ms. Mason had been at the Little Rock Air Force Base for just 10 days when she was killed. Her body was found in Lonoke County the next day. Fairchild was convicted half a year later.
Ms. Mason's brother said that more than a dozen years was too long to see the death avenged.
``When you have someone admit to a murder and they put his execution off for almost 13 years, there's something wrong,'' said Billy Mason of Panama City, Fla.
Fairchild was the 11th person executed by the state since it re-instated the death penalty in 1990. He was the 33rd person executed this year, and the 291st since the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to resume capital punishment.