Virginia executes serial killer who claimed mental disability

RICHMOND, Va — Virginia on Thursday put to death a convicted serial killer who claimed mental disability in the U.S. state’s first execution in almost three years.

Alfredo Prieto, a 49-year-old native of El Salvador, was pronounced dead at 9:17 p.m. local time at the Greensville Correctional Center, the state Department of Corrections said in a statement.

Prieto’s last words were, “I would like to say thanks to all my lawyers, all my supporters, and all my family members. Get this over with,” the statement said. Prieto was accompanied by an attorney, it said.

Prieto was convicted of the 1988 murder of a Virginia couple and had been on death row in California. Virginia officials said in court filings he had been convicted of killing or suspected of killing at least nine people.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday had rejected without comment a request for a stay of execution. Prieto’s lawyers had said the stay would allow time for courts in California to rule on Prieto’s claim that he was intellectually disabled.

They had argued that Prieto had an IQ of 66 and thus was constitutionally exempt from execution.

Prieto was put to death after his lawyers said they filed an appeal with the Supreme Court for a stay over a second issue, the pentobarbital used to start the lethal three-drug protocol.

They contended that the pentobarbital was potentially faulty and could cause severe pain, violating a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“Tonight the Commonwealth executed a man without knowing whether he has intellectual disability or not, using drugs that are far beyond their approved date of use,” Robert Lee, an attorney for Prieto, said in a statement.

Prieto was convicted in 2010 of the 1988 murders of Rachel Faver and her boyfriend, Warren Fulton, in Fairfax County, a Washington suburb. Faver had been raped.

Prieto was facing a 1992 death sentence in California for raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl when he was convicted in Virginia. California officials extradited him to Virginia.

The execution was the first in Virginia since January 2013. The state has carried out 111 executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Prieto was put to death as Oklahoma‘s attorney general sought to stay three executions to examine the cause of a mix-up with its lethal drugs. 

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