by Max Brantley
Fox 16's David Goins says Judge Chris Piazza has denied a motion to delay the trial of Curtis Vance for the murder of KATV's Anne Pressly. Defense lawyers wanted to present more testimony about Vance's mental capacity. Piazza said an argument that Vance is retarded could be made at sentencing if he is convicted. Retarded convicts cannot be executed under Arkansas law. Testing so far has put Vance's IQ outside that range, but the defense wanted to enter contrary testimony.
If Vance could have been found to be retarded before the trial, it would have taken the death penalty off the table. Then he'd have had nothing to lose going to trial. But now that it remains a possibility, it might encourage defense lawyers to consider -- particularly given the admission of statements Vance made to police into evidence -- seeking a plea deal. Presuming evidence indicates he's likely to be convicted.
The trial is on for Nov. 2 Judge Piazza also rebuffed defense efforts to strike significant amounts of Vance's statements to police from testimony.
PS -- KATV's Amanda Manatt contributed this tidbit from the proceedings today.
On his way in, when asked if he's mentally challenged, Vance said "I think I'm pretty smart, what do y'all think?"