Robertson Defense Continues 'Broken Brain' Arguments

Convicted College Station killer Stanley Robertson's lawyers continued their full-court press concerning their client's mental state Wednesday, the twelfth day of the capital murder trial.

Robertson, 45, was convicted February 7 in the kidnapping and murder of his ex-girlfriend's mother, Annie Toliver, an admitted revenge killing for that ex not supporting him in his mind. He had been arrested for threatening that girlfriend with a knife in front of her children a month before her mother was killed.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Wednesday morning, neuropsychologist Joan Mayfield continued her testimony, which involved her analysis of IQ testing Robertson underwent. That test conducted by a different defense psychologist showed Robertson's score as a 71. After being adjusted for a number of factors, it gets changed to a 70.

Mayfield believes Robertson has mild mental retardation, a diagnosis that goes off the 70 score. Prosecutors called into question the way the test was measured.

The Brazos County jury will eventually be asked three questions concerning Robertson's punishment. The first is whether he is a future danger to others.

If the jury unanimously believes he is, they move to the second question: whether there are mitigating circumstances that would warrant a life sentence (the only other punishment option) instead of the death penalty. Defense lawyers have been focusing on Robertson's upbringing. He lived in extreme poverty on a farm in Alabama, working the fields surrounded by pesticides. He claims he was sexually abused by his brother-in-law. He was picked on for his lack of intelligence and his poverty.

Prosecutors have countered that many other people go through similar experiences as children -- including Robertson's many siblings -- and do not commit heinous crimes.

If the jury unanimously finds no mitigating circumstances, they move to the third question of mental retardation. By virtue of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, those shown to have that disorder cannot be executed. Robertson's defense has put numerous expert witnesses on the stand who have testified that Robertson does meet the criteria: a 70 or below IQ, deficiencies in adaptive behavior, and those signs having shown up prior to age 18.

Prosecutors have questioned the methods by which Robertson has been examined, and they are expected to call their own experts in the field that will counter the retardation assertion.

Wednesday, following the defense resting the initial portion of its case, prosecutors called a former supervisor at an Alabama cabinet company where Robertson worked for nine years. Robertson routinely got high marks on his evaluations, and was a long-standing employee in a special division charged with making the more complicated products.

Also testifying was Robertson's former apartment manager, who said the defendant signed paperwork and negotiated payments and services without help.

The final witness Wednesday was the GED teacher at the Brazos County Jail, who said Robertson showed improvement over six months he was taking classes, but then received a report on his progress. After that, he stopped going to classes for a time, then returned with much less drive and effort.

The prosecution has implied that Robertson may have intentionally given little effort in order to score low on tests on perpetuate the idea that he has mental issues.



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