The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Wednesday upheld the conviction of a Mexican man sent to death row for killing a Dallas police officer more than four years ago.
The state's highest criminal court rejected claims from condemned inmate Juan Lizcano that questioned the jury selection, evidence of his mental capacity, admissibility of certain evidence from the crime scene and the charge to the jury that convicted him of capital murder for the November 2005 fatal shooting of 28-year-old Dallas Officer Brian Jackson.
Three of the court's nine judges, however, dissented from upholding Lizcano's death sentence, saying they didn't believe his Dallas County jury should have been the ones to determine whether his mental impairment was sufficient enough to keep him off death row.
The U.S. Supreme Court has barred execution of mentally retarded people.
Judge Tom Price, in a dissent joined by colleagues Cheryl Johnson and Charles Holcomb, said he didn't believe the question of determining the constitutional standard for mental impairment should have been left to the jury.
Testimony at his trial showed Lizcano, now 33, had the communication skills of a 8- to 10-year-old and was about 16 when he left school in the 6th grade still unable to read.
"I can only conclude that its finding that (Lizcano) did not prove that he is mentally retarded is, indeed, against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence," Price wrote. "I would therefore vacate the jury's finding and remand the cause to the trial court to conduct another punishment proceeding."
Lizcano does not have an execution date. He still can take his appeals into the federal courts.
Jackson was shot responding to a domestic disturbance call at the home of Lizcano's former girlfriend. He had been on the Dallas police force nearly five years.
Police responding to a 911 call from Lizcano's ex-girlfriend came under fire. Lizcano ran outside the house and Jackson fired three times at him. Other officers heard another shot from Lizcano and found Jackson fatally wounded.
Lizcano, his gun empty, was found lying on the ground behind a trash can and was arrested.