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Mentally Retarded Claim Will Delay Murder Suspect's Trial

Posted January 17, 2008

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— A motion seeking to declare a man retarded who is accused of kidnapping and killing a Wendell woman will delay his trial.

"We will be filing a formal motion that we have evidence that Antonio Davon Chance is mentally retarded, and we will be asking for a hearing in that matter," Wake County public defender Bryan Collins said Thursday.

Chance, 30, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cynthia Moreland, 48. Police said she was abducted from a parking garage beneath Progress Energy's headquarters in downtown Raleigh on Aug. 22, 2006.

Moreland's body was found behind an abandoned Harnett County barn on Sept. 1.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Susan Spurlin plans to seek the death penalty when the case goes to trial.

That's set to begin Feb. 11, but Collins said he wanted the issue taken care of before trial. The motion is expected to delay it for several months, Spurlin said.

Collins said the motion has nothing to do with Chance's innocence or guilt but with a state law that prohibits mentally retarded people from being put to death. To be mentally retarded, a person has to have an IQ below 70.

Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens on Wednesday ordered Collins attorney to produce a report from an expert regarding Chance's mental capacity.

"Once we get that information, we'll have to do our own investigation to determine that the facts are supporting or not supporting that contention," Spurlin said.

Calls to Moreland's family were not immediately returned.


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  • The Fox Jan 17, 2008

    Well, you don't see rocket scientists out committing these crimes. Most criminals are below average types. Low IQ and irrational behavior go hand in hand. However, to abritarily list a cut off IQ level to avoid the highest penality is criminal. To apply this rule to someone who has a documented life long condition, supported with childhood tests, a clean background, and not knowing right from wrong, is honorable. To stretch this ruling and apply it to those with a criminal background is obscene.
    A Wendell Resident.

  • beaker Jan 17, 2008

    I wonder why this convienient defense did not come up when he was convicted of 2nd degree sex offense in 94, possession, and 2 convictions of failing to register as a sex offender. If you ask me, our society needs to question its intelligence as to why this guy was out on the streets to begin with.

  • jet919 Jan 17, 2008

    When are they ever going to stop using the word "retarded" when a person is just down right "MEAN" and thinks he can get away with a crime such as this. I don't know that I could have pulled off what he did if I was mean and indecent enough to do a thing like that.

    She was one very attractive and smart lady; however, he outsmarted and manhandled her. My heart goes out to her loved ones and her dear husband who cared for her so very much. I don't know how he continues to deal with this madness. I guess he is getting his strength from the Lord because I don't think he could handle this on his own. May he know that many are still praying for him.

  • jon2four Jan 17, 2008

    If he is mentally retarded enough to do the crime he should be mentally retarded enough to do the time.Put him in the nut house for life.

  • MizzZeta Jan 17, 2008

    I have to preface this statement with a declaration: I don't have any formal training in identifying the mentally retarded. Having said that: I don't believe this man is retarded! I have dealt with children and adults who are mentally retarded and when they do something wrong, their first instinct is not to cover it up! This man put the victim's body in a shallow grave, stole her car, and attempted to use her bank card. That sounds like full cognition to me! I hope justice is served in this case.

  • 3779LRRP Jan 17, 2008

    Mentally retarded? Yeah right.

  • illegals--GO HOME Jan 17, 2008

    What a stupid crying shame that this man can take advantage of the system.He was cunning & planning enough to carry out this crime, dispose of the body and everything it takes to avoid being caught, then he is of the mental capacity to be put to death! That is what he deserves. I wish we had the capacity other countries have for dealing with such "deserving" criminals so they don't become a drain on the system and repeat offenders. We are so soft in this country sometimes that it sickens me.
    Why do we have dirty roadsides when the prisons are so overcrowded..get them out of the bunks and onto to the roadsides picking up trash...earn their keep a little. When we in NC had the old-fashioned chain gangs where they did roadside cleaning, the prisons were not so overcrowded as they had to do real work. Now we pay for cable, three meals better than a lot of families get daily, free medical care, and an education to boot,whats wrong with that picture. The sheriff in Arizona has the right idea

  • UpwardlyMobile Jan 17, 2008

    I didn't know her but I know her sister and I personally don't want to hear any excuses for this man. There's nothing wrong with him. He took away the life of a beautiful woman with a wonderful family for nothing. I guess he was retarded when he killed this woman but he's smart enough now to try to avoid the death penalty...

  • redneckdiva Jan 17, 2008

    The system is mentally retarded! LOL :-)

  • jotoho99 Jan 17, 2008

    and we wonder why our court room are running over. such as this bottom line you kill someone electric chair or the injection not to be drug out in court for years because so panty waist lawyer talks you in to pleading insanity. give the tax payers a break. we cannot afford anyone else on death row at the tune of approx $45.000 at our expense.