The Clarion-Ledger, 5/16/8

Attorneys for condemned killer Earl Wesley Berry moved one of his appeals to a higher court Thursday, renewing an argument that has saved mentally retarded inmates from execution.

Their request of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay of execution came hours after the Mississippi Supreme Court rejected arguments that Berry is mentally disabled and that the state’s lethal injection method is unconstitutional.

Berry is scheduled to die Wednesday for the 1987 beating death of Mary Bounds, a wife, mother and grandmother. He confessed to abducting Bounds, 56, as she left church choir practice, killing her and dumping her body on a rural road in north Mississippi.

“No one who has ever spent any amount of time with (Berry) doubts that he is mentally retarded,” his attorneys wrote in court papers, adding that the Mississippi Department of Corrections diagnosed him as such during a prison stay before Bounds’ murder.