A public defender has argued before the State Supreme Court that a triple murderer should not face the death penalty in his trial in Camden County, because he was ruled mentally retarded in another county. Janet Thompson told the judges it makes no sense for Camden County to seek the death penalty when Pulaski County has ruled Alis Ben Johns mentally retarded. The state never appealed the mental retardation ruling, a fact pressed by Supreme Court Judges when Assistant Attorney General Shaun Mackelprang appeared before them. The US Supreme Court has ruled that the mentally retarded cannot be executed. Johns killed a man in late 1996, then killed two others during his six month run from authorities. He has received one life sentence, had a death sentence overturned by the mental retardation ruling, and awaits trial in Camden County.
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