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November 8, 2011

Texas appeals court stays pending execution to allow DNA testing

As detailed in this CNN report, a "Texas court granted a stay of execution for convicted murderer Henry "Hank" Skinner on Monday, giving Skinner time to pursue DNA testing his lawyers say could prove his innocence."  Here are the basics:

Skinner had been scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday evening for the New Year's Eve 1993 killings of his live-in girlfriend, Twila Busby, and her two adult sons in the Texas Panhandle town of Pampa.  But the state Court of Criminal Appeals halted the proceeding Monday afternoon, ruling that it needed time to review the state's revised law on DNA testing.

In a written statement, Skinner's lawyer, Rob Owen, said the decision "has ensured that Mr. Skinner's request for DNA testing will receive the thorough and serious consideration it deserves."

Skinner, now 49, has strongly denied any involvement in the crime and claims that the DNA analysis of untested evidence will not only show him innocent but help determine the real killer. He came within 45 minutes of execution in March 2010 before the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and handed him a legal reprieve.

November 8, 2011 at 07:36 AM | Permalink


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Well, I think they shouldn't be pending DNA tests.

Posted by: mkv file player | Nov 8, 2011 8:49:23 AM

"Authorities followed a blood trail from the crime scene to the female friend's home and found Skinner in the closet, authorities said. He was "wearing heavily blood-stained jeans and socks and bearing a gash on the palm of his right hand," according to the Texas attorney general's summary of the case.

Authorities said cuts on Skinner's hand came from the knife used to stab the men. Skinner claimed he cut it on glass. Some DNA testing was done, which implicated Skinner, but not on the items he now wants tested."

{Details from this CNN report}


Posted by: adamakis | Nov 8, 2011 9:48:13 AM

The law says test it (the Texas Legislature changed it this year), so test it. If he's guilty, jab him. If not, this wouldn't be the first time somebody turned out to be innocent when we were told six ways from Sunday there's no possible way DNA would exonerate.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Nov 8, 2011 10:35:18 AM

Significantly, from John Schwartz in the NYT:

"His lawyers had not requested DNA testing on all the evidence available at trial out of fears that the results would go against him."

Ha Ha Hee Hee

Posted by: adamakis | Nov 8, 2011 11:26:27 AM

Smirks and giggles don't change TX law surrounding postconviction DNA testing, adamkis. Maybe you're right, probably, even, but if you're wrong you just move on to the next comment thread. If the state's wrong, there's no "next time" for Mr. Skinner. So the Texas court was correct for once to just ignore the demagogues who want to politicize this, follow the law, test the evidence, and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Nov 8, 2011 11:58:26 AM


You may be right. I didn't read anything primary, just the NYT and CNN. Maybe I got ahead of the evidence (the hasty generalization).

Howbeit, let's not forget the victims. Let's move on this.

Posted by: adamakis | Nov 8, 2011 1:24:12 PM

What is happening now? Is he still on death row? Or was he executed? I hope not, I think he is innocent...

Posted by: Missy Price | Sep 3, 2013 11:50:15 AM

I'm not a student ora prosecutor. I'm just a everyday American citizen. Sorry I read your comment after I posted.

Posted by: Missy Price | Sep 3, 2013 11:53:27 AM

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