Inmate Status Still Uncertain

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Gov. Ronnie Musgrove's stay of execution for Ron Chris Foster is about to enter its sixth month as the Mississippi Supreme Court ponders if it will again tackle the convicted killer's mental retardation claims.

Musgrove granted a reprieve to Foster on Jan. 6, two days before Foster was scheduled to be executed. He said the reprieve will remain in place until all of Foster's appeals are exhausted.

The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed executing mentally retarded prisoners last year. A motion is pending for Foster's case to be reheard.

Silas McCharen, Foster's lead attorney, said he is optimistic the court will grant a rehearing.

Foster was 17 when he killed George Shelton, a Lowndes County convenience store clerk. A Lauderdale County jury heard the case on a change of venue and handed down the death sentence.

Foster's lawyers contend Foster has an IQ of 62, below the threshold of what is considered normal intelligence.