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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Pervis Payne asks court to declare he can't be executed

The Tennessee death row inmate's attorneys are asking a court to declare that he cannot be executed because he is intellectually disabled.
Credit: AP

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Tennessee death row inmate's attorneys are asking a court to declare that he cannot be executed because he is intellectually disabled.

The petition was filed in Memphis Criminal Court on Wednesday. That's one day after Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill making Tennessee's law that prohibits the execution of the intellectually disabled retroactive. 

At the time of Pervis Payne's sentencing, it was legal to execute someone with an intellectual disability. 

His petition includes IQ tests as well as declarations from teachers, employers, neighbors and family members attesting to Payne's learning and functioning difficulties. 

Payne has always claimed innocence for the two 1987 stabbing deaths he was convicted of.