Attorneys Argue Death Penalty Should Not Apply
In August, Aaron Noyer was charged with criminal homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping and burglary in the death of two-year-old Elizabeth Neimeic of Erie, Pennsylvania.
According to Dave Lohr of AolNews.com, crime scene investigators found Noyer's finger- and palm prints inside the Neimeics' home, authorities said. When Noyer was brought in for police questioning, he allegedly told police he had climbed through the girl's bedroom window to burglarize the home.
During the burglary, Noyer allegedly abducted Elizabeth and took her to a nearby area. There, next to a pair of railroad tracks, he removed her clothing and sexually assaulted and strangled her, authorities said. Afterward, Noyer threw the child to the ground at least twice, police said.
Noyer has an extensive criminal record. He was charged with arson as an 11-year-old. He has had a PFA filed against him for threatening a girlfriend. Now his lawyers say he is mentally retarded and therefore cannot face the death penalty.
Noyer filed a motion Tuesday, challenging Erie District Attorney Jack Daneri's intention to seek the death penalty. According to the Associated Press, Daneri says three aggravating factors qualify Noyer for the death penalty: the victim was younger than 12; the killing allegedly happened as part of another felony; and Noyer has a history of violent crime.
The Erie Times-News says Noyer's IQ has been tested at 57. His attorneys argue that he should be exempt him from execution under the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002). In Atkins, the Court ruled 6-3 that executing the mentally retarded violates the Eighth Amendment's ban against cruel and unusual punishments. Although the Supreme Court did not establish a bright line rule regarding IQ and mental retardation, some suggest that an IQ under 70, may be indicative of mental retardation.
To read more: http://www.aolnews.com/crime/article/pa-police-make-arrest-in-toddlers-abduction-slaying/19578258