27 August 2023 :
(August 24, 2023) - Howard M. Neal resentenced to life with possibility of parole. Former death row inmate.
Neal was convicted in 1982 and sentenced to death for the 1981 kidnapping and killing of his 13-year-old half-niece, Amanda Joy Neal.
In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the execution of people with intellectual disabilities is unconstitutional because it is cruel and unusual.
According to court records, Neal was unable to advance past second grade, and he was then sent to schools for people with intellectual disabilities.
A Mississippi judge in 2008 resentenced Neal under a state law that said an inmate must be resentenced to life without parole if the death penalty is deemed unconstitutional.
In 2015, the Mississippi Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of another death row inmate with intellectual disabilities. State justices said the law on resentencing to life without parole would apply only if the death penalty were found unconstitutional for all inmates, not just those with intellectual disabilities.
The state Attorney General’s office wrote on Aug. 9 that Neal’s case is “materially indistinguishable” from the one that justices decided in 2015, and thus he “is entitled to be resentenced to life imprisonment” with the possibility of parole.
The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday in the case of Neal.