Court Halts Execution of Dallas Man Who Strangled, Sexually Assaulted Girl in 2005

A Texas court has halted the planned execution of a Dallas man who sexually assaulted and strangled an 11-year-old girl.The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said Monday that it wants to further review arguments about whether 46-year-old Steven Lynn Long is mentally impaired.Long was scheduled to die Aug. 30 for the 2005 slaying of Kaitlyn Briana Smith, whose body was found hidden beneath a trash bag under a Rylie trailer home.Attorneys had previously appealed his sentence — Long's IQ is in the low 60s, and the U.S. Supreme Court bars the execution of people who are mentally disabled — but those appeals were rejected.But in March, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas' method for evaluating whether death-row inmates are mentally disabled violated the Constitution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. The court told the state to use modern medical standards, rather than those from 1992, in its evaluations.Kaitlyn was reported missing in May 2005 after she spent the night at a friend's house. Her grandfather found her body the following day.  Continue reading...

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