Attorneys for an Orange County man who was convicted of first-degree murder and arson last year said their client's IQ might be too low for him to be executed.
A jury in May 2017 convicted Juan Rosario of beating Elena Ortega, 83, and burning her alive in her home in 2013. Jurors unanimously decided that he should be sentenced to death.
Rosario's lawyers have spent almost a year trying to build up enough evidence to convince Circuit Judge Leticia Marques that he doesn't doesn't deserve to die. They'll make their case during a hearing scheduled for May.
"There's too much work that needs to be done, and we need to have additional experts appointed," attorney Ted Marrero said.
Marrero on Friday asked Marques for a six-month extension because he said he recently learned that Rosario has an IQ of 72.
"Tell them they need to soldier on and be ready," state attorney Brad King said. "And at the same time, tell them that we need our witness list by 5 o'clock today."
Prosecutors said one year was more than enough time for attorneys to figure out that Rosario might meet the legal definition of mental retardation.
"At some point, there has to be order," King said. "And the law has to apply to these cases, just like every other case."
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