Capital Punishment to be Discussed at WWU

William Woods University will host one of America’s leading constitutional scholars to discuss the controversial topic of capital punishment and the mentally retarded.

On April 24, Dr. Thomas Walker, will speak from 4-5 p.m. in the Aldridge Lounge on the WWU campus. It is free and open to the public.

His talk, titled “Competent Enough to Die: Capital Punishment and the Mentally Retarded,” will follow the case of Daryl Atkins who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His lawyers appealed the sentence arguing that his significantly sub average intelligence levels reduced his culpability and made his execution constitutionally inappropriate.

Walker will speak as part of the series, “Toward a Just and Peaceful Society,” made possible by a grant received from the Higher Education Leadership Ministries (HELM) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The Atkins case will be used to examine the death penalty in America and the workings of the nation’s judicial system. The story will follow Atkins from the day of the crime, through the trial and his appeal.

The constitutional significance of the Supreme Court’s ruling and the ultimate fate of Atkins will also be discussed.

Walker has coauthored or authored 10 books and will release another book this summer, “Eligible for Execution.”

For more information, contact the Rev. Travis Tamerius, WWU chaplain, at (573) 592-4241 or