Appeals Court Upholds Denial of Death Row Inmate

AUGUST 23, 2006 - Posted at 7:48 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal appeals court has rejected an appeal by a death row inmate convicted of killing his former employer in a prison work-release program.

Frank Williams, Jr. was convicted in 1993 of fatally shooting farmer Clyde Spence of Bradley during a 1992 robbery.  Williams had been fired from a prison work-release job at Spence's farm after damaging a tractor.  At the time of the shooting, Williams was serving a five-year sentence for forgery and aggravated assault.

In 2004, a lawyer for Williams argued that, under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Williams should not be put to death because he is mentally retarded.  The U.S. District Court in Little Rock rejected that argument, and the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld the opinion.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)