Court to Judge If Man Who Killed Three Is Mentally Retarded

The Alabama Supreme Court ordered a lower court to determine if a local man who gunned down three people is mentally retarded and should have his death sentence changed to life in prison without parole.

36-year-old Jerry Jerome Smith was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die for drug related slayings of three people.

The Supreme Court said a Houston County judge should conduct a hearing for Smith to see if he falls under a 2004 ruling by the U.S Supreme Court which says it's unconstitutional to execute a mentally retarded inmate.

Victim David Bennett's mother Mertis Bennett says she doesn't believe Smith is mentally retarded, but life in prison for Smith would be fine with her.

“As long as he stays in there and doesn't get out on the streets then it'll be alright because he'll have to stay in there and think about what he's done and that would be enough punishment,” said Bennett.

Smith is currently confined at Holman Prison in Atmore.

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