Mentally Disabled Killer Gets Off Death Row 25 Years After Arlington Teen Was Raped, Buried Alive

An Arkansas man who was convicted for his role in murdering an Arlington teenager has had his federal death sentence vacated after a judge ruled he is intellectually disabled.Bruce Carneil Webster, 46, was part of a group of five men who kidnapped, raped and killed 16-year-old Lisa Rene in 1994.The group of men had sought revenge against Rene's brothers, who owed them $5,000 for a botched marijuana deal. The men took Rene from her home in Arlington and drove her to Arkansas. Once there the men raped the teen and led her to a park where they buried her alive.A jury convicted Webster in June 1996. Jurors heard evidence during the trial from experts and Webster's family, who testified he was intellectually disabled. Only four of the 12 members of the jury believed Webster was intellectually disabled, and a judge sentenced him to death.Webster's attorneys tried for years to have the death sentence vacated, and initially appealed the ruling in 2000. A judge rejected that appeal in 2003.Defense attorneys tried again to appeal the decision, citing a 2002 Supreme Court ruling that determined it was unconstitutional to execute people with intellectual disabilities.A federal judge denied another appeal in 2010. The judge agreed that Webster is intellectually disabled but rejected the motion because of limits on the number of times federal inmates can appeal their sentences.Attorneys filed their most recent appeal in 2012 to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and a hearing was held in June 2018. The hearing allowed Webster to present evidence on his mental state that wasn't available at his 1996 trial, court records show.  Continue reading...

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