The office of South Carolina's top prosecutor said Wednesday it wouldn't oppose a ruling that halts the execution of a man on death row longer than any of its current inmates - and gives the man a chance at life outside of prison.
In a letter sent to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Don Zelenka wrote that he won't appeal a lower court decision to sentence Edward Lee Elmore to life in prison.
Elmore has been on death row since his 1982 conviction for the murder of Dorothy Edwards. The 75-year-widow had been stabbed 52 times when she was found inside her Greenwood home.
In May, a circuit judge presided over a hearing in which doctors testified Elmore was within the mental retardation range on all four IQ tests he has taken. And last month, Circuit Court, Judge J. Mark Hayes II ruled that Elmore cannot be executed because he is mentally retarded.
The U.S. Supreme Court banned the death penalty for mentally retarded offenders in 2002.