Marvin Wilson, the two-time armed robber who fatally beat and shot a Beaumont police informer he thought responsible for his arrest on a drug charge, was executed Tuesday at the state's Huntsville death house.
Wilson's case, in which his lawyers argued he was mentally retarded, fueled global outrage among anti-death penalty activists. Passions rose to such a pitch that even the intellectually challenged protagonist of John Steinbeck's 1937 novella "Of Mice and Men" indirectly was sucked into the fray. Wilson's lawyers unsuccessfully argued that an IQ test on which the killer scored 61 - nine points below the standard for competency - should have saved him from execution under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring execution of the mentally retarded.
The high court struck down Wilson's final appeal less than two hours before he was escorted to the death chamber. His attorney, Lee Kovarsky, called the ruling a "shocking failure."