Jason Reeves to be evaluated for intellectual disability - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Jason Reeves to be evaluated for intellectual disability

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Jason Reeves, the man sentenced to die for the murder of Mary Jean Thigpen, is fighting to stay alive.

Some people are automatically protected from being executed. Juveniles and those who suffer from an intellectual disability are included in that group. That's why attorneys for Reeves say he should not die by lethal injection:

The attorney for Reeves asked the court to have him examined by a panel of experts and Judge Mike Canaday has granted that motion.  The experts will evaluate Reeves and his  records to decide if he should be protected from the death penalty because of intellectual disability.  

In his second trial in 2004, Reeves was convicted of the first degree murder of four year old Mary Jean Thigpen in 2001.  The little girl's body was found in a graveyard not far from her home in Moss Bluff.  

"Her life was taken and she can't be here.  I'm her mother and I want to, I want to  be here for her," said Mary Jean's mother, Carin Thigpen Howell.

Howell came to court with her mother, Mary Jean's grandmother, and one of murdered daughter's brothers. Howell admits Reeves' execution would accomplish this:

"Justice has been served," she said, is what she would say upon his death.

 But she says it's not for her to say if he should be put to death.

"I believe that God will see that he gets what he deserves.  And it's not for me to say what he gets, what he deserves. It's only for God to say," said Howell.  

Generally, an IQ around 70 is considered intellectually disabled.

Six months after the murder, Reeves tested 85 on an IQ test but more recently scored 75. Still, Howell doesn't think her daughter's killer has an intellectual disability.

"When he took my Mary's life, I believe he knew full well what he was doing.  He knew he was wrong and he's trying to run and hide from that," said Howell. "I think it's a desperate attempt to save his life."

A psychiatrist and a psychologist have been appointed to examine Reeves and a third expert may be added. The judge ordered Reeves be kept in the Calcasieu jail so the doctors don't have to travel to Angola State Penitentiary  to examine him. The defense plans to appeal that.

A hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, to determine the status of Reeves' claim of intellectual disability. 

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