Local News

Jury to decide accused killer's mental capacity

Posted July 25, 2008 1:03 p.m. EDT
Updated August 1, 2008 2:45 p.m. EDT

— 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.