Federal Court Rejects Idaho Death Row Inmate's IQ Appeal

Sep 9, 2013

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected Idaho death row inmate Gerald Pizzuto Jr.'s claim that he is too mentally disabled to be executed.

In the Monday ruling, a three-judge panel said the Idaho Supreme Court correctly applied federal case law when it found that Pizzuto was eligible for execution. Pizzuto had appealed his sentence, saying that his IQ was below 70, making it illegal for the state to execute him. But state attorneys have maintained Pizzuto's IQ is actually higher, and that there's no evidence he meets the criteria for Idaho's law banning capital punishment for mentally disabled criminals.

Pizzuto was sentenced to die in 1986 for killing 58-year-old Berta Herndon and her 37-year-old nephew Del Dean Herndon as they were prospecting near McCall.