A state judge will decide April 22 whether condemned killer Allen “Lil Boo” Robertson Jr. is intellectually disabled and thus ineligible for execution in the New Year’s Day 1991 stabbing death of an elderly Baton Rouge couple in their home, the judge said Wednesday at the conclusion of a long-running hearing in the case.
Two psychologists have testified that Robertson, 48, of Baton Rouge, is intellectually disabled, while two other psychologists testified they did not diagnose him as intellectually disabled.
One of Robertson’s attorneys, Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana Director Gary Clements, said Wednesday he believes state District Judge Mike Erwin was presented with enough evidence to support a finding of intellectual disability.
“The historical records ... showed his deficits in functioning,” Clements said outside Erwin’s courtroom.
“He has a number of deficits. It’s what they can’t do that defines their capacity.”
Prem Burns, a retired East Baton Rouge Parish assistant district attorney who prosecuted Robertson and now serves as special counsel in the case, said there was no prior diagnosis or suggestion that Robertson is intellectually disabled until after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 — seven years after his conviction and death sentence — prohibited the execution of the intellectually disabled.
“That’s a huge factor,” she said outside the 19th Judicial District Courthouse.
Burns said Robertson’s premeditation in the killing of Morris and Kazuko Prestenback, his police confessions and jailhouse communications, and his ability to function, communicate and adapt all demonstrate he is not intellectually disabled.
“At best he’s low intellect. That’s not intellectual disability,” she said, adding that Robertson is street smart.
Both Burns and Clements pledged to appeal Erwin’s forthcoming ruling to the Louisiana Supreme Court if it goes against them and then to the federal courts.
“The life of this litigation will continue,” Clements said after the end of a hearing that began in 2013.
Robertson was 23 when he fatally stabbed Morris and Kazuko Prestenback, 76 and 71, respectively, while burglarizing their Dalton Street home for money to buy drugs.
The hearing has taken almost three years to complete because, among other things, there have been unsuccessful attempts to disqualify Burns and Erwin, and because there have been changes in Robertson’s legal representation.