Missouri man executed despite appeals over brain injury

Cecil Clayton

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A Missouri death row inmate has been executed despite legal appeals that he had a diminished mental capacity because of a brain injury.

Cecil Clayton, 74, was put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday after the governor of Missouri denied a clemency request and the US Supreme Court declined to intervene.

Clayton was seriously hurt in a sawmill accident in 1972.

His attorneys argued that the injury cost him about 8% of his brain.

"Cecil Clayton had - literally - a hole in his head," Elizabeth Unger Carlyle, one of his attorneys, said in a statement. "Executing him without a hearing to determine his competency violated the Constitution, Missouri law, and basic human dignity."

Clayton's attorneys said their client had a reported IQ of 71 and the reading skills of a child.

The lawyers provided psychiatric evaluations which found that Clayton did not understand the significance of his scheduled execution or the reasons for it, making him ineligible to be put to death under state and federal law.

A jury convicted Clayton of fatally shooting Christopher Castetter, a sheriff's deputy, in 1996.

Friends and family members have said the 1972 accident changed Clayton's personality, making him prone to violent outbursts.

In his final statement, Clayton merely said, "They brought me up here to execute me."

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