Griffin's Lawyers to Argue Their Client is Mentally Retarded

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Lawyers for Stanley Griffin will work to show their client's lack of intelligence and upbringing are among the reasons to spare his life.

Friday morning, the defense for the convicted capital murderer began its presentation in the punishment phase of the trial after prosecutors rested after a little more than a day of witnesses. By early afternoon, they wrapped things up until Monday morning.

One of Griffin's court-appointed lawyers, Stephen Gustitis, told the jury of ten women and two men that his client was mentally retarded and never scored above a 75 on IQ tests. Gustitis also said they will show Griffin's upbringing was bad, and that he had neither the nature nor the nurture he needed in his life.

Griffin, 47, was convicted by the same jury Wednesday. Jurors took 65 minutes to find Griffin guilty of capital murder for the September 2010 strangulation of Jennifer Hailey, a 29-year-old former coworker of his ex-girlfriend. Hailey's nine-year-old son was attacked during the same incident at her home.

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Gustitis told the jury it was Griffin's break-up weeks before Hailey's murder that sent him in a downward spiral. Thursday, a state witness testified that Griffin told her he wanted to tie up his ex in front of her kids and slit her throat.

At the start of the punishment phase Thursday, prosecutors told jurors they expected the defense to claim Griffin was mentally retarded, and that they would counter defense experts with some of their own to disprove the theory.

By law, defendants deemed mentally retarded are not eligible for the death penalty. The only other punishment option for those convicted of capital murder is life in prison without possibility of parole.

The state ended its punishment phase presentation by calling Griffin's probation and parole officers to discuss the time after he was released from prison. Griffin served 12 years of a 20-year sentence for a 1990 attack on a Webster, Texas woman in her home.

Defense witnesses Friday morning included neighbors of Griffin who said they believed he was a nice person, but that something was a little off.