Local News

Jury to decide accused killer's mental capacity

Posted July 25, 2008
Updated August 1, 2008

— A judge denied a motion Friday for a pre-trial hearing to determine whether a man charged in the kidnapping and death of a Wendell woman is mentally retarded and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.

Antonio Chance, 30, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cynthia Moreland. Police said she was abducted from a parking garage beneath Progress Energy's headquarters in downtown Raleigh on Aug. 22, 2006, and authorities found her body behind an abandoned barn in Harnett County 11 days later.

State law prohibits executing mentally retarded people, those with an IQ below 70 and who had issues of adaptive functioning prior to age 18, if they are convicted of first-degree murder.

A defense attorney asked for a ruling on Chance's mental capacity, but Superior Court Judge James Spencer said a jury would have to decide the matter.

According to a clinical psychologist who examined Chance, he scored a full-scale IQ of 67 in September 2006, after his arrest, and a 66 on a test in November 2007.

The trial in the case has been scheduled for September.


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  • doubletrouble Jul 25, 2008

    I imagine if I was slapped with a murder charge, I could be rather "unsmart" myself, if I felt it would get me a plea-deal. My Chihuahua knows the difference between right and wrong-as if she messes in the house, I can tell it right away via her actions/behavior. You mean a human being wouldn't know the difference..HOGWASH!

  • Iquana Jul 25, 2008

    "he scored a full-scale IQ of 67 in September 2006, after his arrest,"
    He would have been retarded if he scored above a 70.

  • nathanius Jul 25, 2008

    nathanius, did I miss something? I didn't know he had been found guilty. I didn't even know the case had gone to trial.

    No, but I assure you more likely than not these are the facts that will come out at trial. Evidently if his lawyer is already playing the mental retardation card, the police have the goods on him.

  • iron fist Jul 25, 2008

    You don't have to have a license to drive a car.

  • Glass Half Full Jul 25, 2008

    He may have been "slow" in school but he's smart enough to botch a psychological exam and smart enough to carry out a kidnapping, robbery, murder, and concealment of his victim's body. That's not retarded, that's EVIL.

  • Redjc Jul 25, 2008

    I remember this guy in school. He was QUIET and stayed to himself. I believe he was in the "special classes" if my memory serves me correct. I just assumed that meant he was a slow learner. It's really sad that he's done something so horrible. Even if he is mentally unstable I agree to the fact that if he was able to obtain a drivers license and drive a car then he is not mentally retarded! He knew what he was doing!

  • iron fist Jul 25, 2008

    nathanius, did I miss something? I didn't know he had been found guilty. I didn't even know the case had gone to trial.

  • nathanius Jul 25, 2008

    He had to presence of mind to rob Mrs. Moreland, steal her car, flee, hide her body, but now he is retarded. I know all the psychologists are going to disagree, but mental illness SHOULD NOT KEEP YOU FROM THE DEATH PENALTY. Who cares if he is sick anyways? He murdered someone. I could care less about his state of mind, mentally ill or not. HE TOOK A LIFE!!! The criminal justice system so misses the point.

  • Jul 25, 2008

    What good is the death penalty when we're not killing them anyhow? Seems to be more and more retarded killers of late.

  • computer trainer Jul 25, 2008

    It irks me that when people get caught doing wrong, they play the mentally incompetent card. I think of someone who is mentally incompetent as not being capable of driving a car, thinking up and committing murder, hiding a body so that it took a long time to be found. I would think that a mentally incompetent person, if they did kill someone, who not drive miles away, looking for a deserted area to hide the body. Seems to me, that they would hide it close and then take off.