Texas Plans Execution of Mentally Disabled Prisoner Marvin Wilson, Based on John Steinbeck Novel

| by Michael Allen

Marvin Wilson, a death row inmate, who is medically diagnosed as “mentally retarded” and exempt from execution, per the U.S. Supreme Court,  is set to die on Tuesday in Texas, reports

Wilson was put on death row for the murder of a police informant in Beaumont, Texas in 1992. However, Wilson was one of two criminals at the scene. He was reportedly with a 'smarter' accomplice.

Additionally, the main witness against Wilson was the accomplice’s wife who claimed she heard Wilson confess to the shooting.

Wilson will be put to death by lethal injection, even though he has been subjected to scientific tests that show him to be intellectually disabled  or “mentally retarded."

In 2002, Atkins v Virgini, the U.S. Supreme Court banned executions for all “mentally retarded" prisoners under the Eighth Amendment of the constitution.

However, texas state officials have rejected the scientific tests that Wilson is “mentally retarded”  and are using their own definition, based on a character in a John Steinbeck novel.

Instead of recognized tests set up by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Texas came up with the 'Briseno Factors' to determine which mentally disabled prisoners should live and die.

The 'Briseno Dactors' are based upon John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel Of Mice and Men' character Lennie Small.

The 'Briseno factors' state that "most Texas citizens might agree that (John) Steinbeck’s Lennie (Small ) should, by virtue of his lack of reasoning ability and adaptive skills, be exempt from execution. By implication anyone less impaired than Steinbeck’s fictional migrant ranch worker should have no constitutional protection."