Attorneys say convicted killer's IQ too low for him to be executed

ORLANDO, Fla. — Attorneys for an Orange County man who was convicted of first-degree murder and arson last year said their client's IQ might be too low for him to be executed.

A jury in May 2017 convicted Juan Rosario of beating Elena Ortega, 83, and burning her alive in her home in 2013. Jurors unanimously decided that he should be sentenced to death.

Rosario's lawyers have spent almost one year trying to build up enough evidence to convince Circuit Judge Leticia Marques that he doesn't doesn't deserve to die. They'll make their case during a hearing scheduled for May.

"There's too much work that needs to be done, and we need to have additional experts appointed," attorney Ted Marrero said.

Marrero on Friday asked Marques for a six-month extension, because he said he recently learned that Rosario has an IQ of 72.

"Tell them they need to soldier on and be ready," State Attorney Brad King said. "And at the same time, tell them that we need our witness list by 5 o' clock today."

Prosecutors said one year was more than enough time for attorneys to figure out that Rosario might meet the legal definition of mental retardation.

"At some point, there has to be order," King said. "And the law has to apply to these cases just like every other case."

Rosario's attorneys told Marques that the case has been turned upside down and that doctors and other experts who are supposed to testify haven't yet written their reports.

"This is not the first time this has happened," Marques said. "What in any of that stopped you from obeying a court order to file a witness list?"

Marques ordered Rosario's attorneys to provide prosecutors what they have and to make haste. She said she hasn't yet decided whether she'll grant an extension.