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N.C. House passes ban on executing retarded

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's House approved a ban on executions of mentally retarded inmates after legislators whose family members were murdered spoke in favor of it.

North Carolina is the latest state to take up the divisive issue. Sixteen states have banned executions of the mentally retarded, with Missouri the latest to approve such legislation two weeks ago.

The North Carolina legislation would ban executions for anyone with an IQ of 70 or less and require a defendant to exhibit evidence of mental retardation prior to the crime.