WARREN - Death row inmate Andre Williams saw his claim that he is mentally disabled and unfit for the death penalty struck down for the fourth time.
And Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said Monday he is pleased that ''another long-standing obstacle'' has been removed, leading toward Williams' pending execution.
U.S. Northern District Judge Donald Nugent Friday denied Williams' petition that included the mental retardation claim.
The denial is the latest setback for Williams, who has had his claims of mental retardation, otherwise known as an Atkins claim, rejected at the common pleas court level, 11th District Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court. The supreme court refused to hear the claim in January 2009 before Williams took the appeal to the federal court system.
The claim is based on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deemed it cruel and unusual punishment to execute a mentally retarded inmate.
Williams has been on death row since 1989, convicted in the 1988 death of George Melnick and the brutal beating and blinding of his wife, Katherine.
Watkins and his office have shown Williams' IQ scores are between 76 and 78; the cutoff established by courts as the borderline mental retardation level is 70. Prosecutors also showed that Williams functions well enough to file his own legal briefs and create his own website while in prison.
Watkins on Monday praised assistant Ohio Attorney General Stephen Maher, who handled Williams' case in federal court.
The prosecutor also said that while Nugent's decision doesn't prevent Williams from appealing the case further, the federal judge denied a certificate of appealability meaning judges with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals would have to agree to hear the mental retardation claim.