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Mo. Supreme Court hears Andrew Lyons case

Mo. Supreme Court Building.
St. Louis Public Radio
Mo. Supreme Court Building.

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments today over whether a convicted killer's death sentence should be commuted to life without parole.

Andrew Lyons was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the 1992 shotgun killings of his girlfriend, Bridgette Harris, and her mother, Evelyn Sparks. He was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting his 11-month-old son, Dontay.

Lyon's attorney, Frederick Duchardt, argued before the High Court that his client is "mentally retarded."

"He had to live with others throughout his life...for a brief period of time; he lived by himself, and basically, as his family put it, 'he live(d) like an animal," Duchardt said.

A Special Master who was appointed to examine the case also concluded that Lyons was mentally disabled.

But attorney Stephen Hawke, arguing for the state, told the Supreme Court that Lyons was given an IQ test before his murder trial.

"He scored the number 84, which is, when you're looking at IQ numbers, the number 70 is the magical number that is where the bright line is between mental retardation on one side and borderline intelligence on the other side," Hawke said.

The Missouri Supreme Court will make its decision at a later date.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the mentally handicapped cannot be executed.