Not Smart Enough to Commit Premeditated Murder?


There is no doubt as to whether Arthur James Martin shot Javon Abdulla Daniels to death while he was sitting in a car outside an apartment in Jacksonville, Florida in late 2009, according to court documents the Florida Times-Union reports. While the shooting isn't disputed, whether or not Martin's intelligence is too low to be executed for the crime is.


After a friend, Franklin Clay Batie, told Martin that he thought 19-year-old Daniels was the person who had shot him a few days before, Martin took Batie’s gun and fired 13 shots into the car where Daniels was sitting, The Florida Times-Union reports. At least six bullets hit Daniels.

A 12-member jury recommended the death penalty. The circuit judge deciding the case said that the murder was cold, calculated and premeditated, according to the Times-Union.

Martin had only been a free man for five months before this incident took place having served 10 years in prison for another murder in Miami-Dade.

When a psychiatrist examined Martin for his current murder charge, it was discovered that his IQ was only 54, which indicates a possible mental disability. If he is mentally disabled, he cannot be executed, as it violates the eighth amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Union-Times notes.

However, the Assistant Attorney General Charmaine Millsaps argues that the IQ evidence was inconclusive, as Martin has graded higher on other tests. Since there are no school records or employment history available, it has proven difficult to determine precisely how intelligent Martin actually is.

His intelligence was not called into question in his previous murder trial, where officers said he was able to read forms and statements.


“Our position was that there was no way to support the claim that he was retarded,” said Assistant State Attorney Rich Mantei, who was a prosecutor at the trial according to the Union-Times. “He wasn’t illiterate. He could read and write.”

The case is being taken to the Supreme Court, which will decide if Martin, who was 40 when he killed Daniels, really did plan out a cold-blooded murder or if it was just a spur-of-the-moment rage response from a mentally disabled man, like his defense lawyer insists.


Read more at the Florida Times-Union.