Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Retarded man held 14 years in killing

Excerpts from the News & Observer

Attorneys for a retarded Anson County man held without trial for 14 years on murder charges have filed documents calling his detention illegal and asking that the state free him from Dorothea Dix hospital immediately.

The writ of habeas corpus filed for Floyd Brown this week in Durham County Superior Court includes details that challenge a case already marred by bribe-taking investigators, lost evidence and a confession that psychiatrists say Brown never could have given. The 43-year-old has an IQ of 50.

It's the first time the case will be scrutinized by a judge outside Anson, which is about 120 miles southwest of the Triangle.

The document filed Tuesday contains new allegations. It includes evidence that the description of the suspect in Katherine Lynch's 1993 murder didn't match Brown. A document also shows Lynch's actual time of death was several hours before police claim Brown killed her.

[Brown] has been unable to stand trial because of his retardation, which has been documented since kindergarten. It prevents him from being able to direct his attorney as required by law. Brown, who has been kept in a state mental hospital, is "caught in a cruel legal limbo," his attorneys say.

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