Judge: Murder Suspect Not Mentally Retarded

Carrie Porter, Rocky Mountain News, August 23, 2008

A judge has ruled that defense attorneys for a man accused of dragging his girlfriend to death failed to prove he is mentally retarded, meaning he could get the death penalty if convicted.

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Rubi-Nava, 38, is charged with murder and kidnapping in the death of Luz Maria Franco Fierros, 49.

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Douglas County District Judge Paul King issued his ruling on the mental retardation issue on July 17 after 12 days of hearings over five months.

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Colorado law doesn’t allow the execution of mentally retarded people. The defense has said a test administered by two experts found Rubi-Nava’s IQ was 66. Generally, those with an IQ of below 70 are considered mentally retarded.

Rubi-Nava is from Mexico, and a prosecution witness testified that his test results were improperly compared with random samples from the United States, instead of from his home country.

In a court filing, defense attorneys Tamara Brady, Jay Grant and Andrew Heher called King’s ruling “unprecedented.”

“Mr. Rubi-Nava’s intellectual functioning must be compared to the society or population where his conduct and behavior occurred,” the attorneys wrote.

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