"Officials Urge Perry to Halt Skinner Execution," is the title of Brandi Grissom's Texas Tribune post.
More than a dozen current and former lawmakers, prosecutors, judges, police officers and even a former Texas governor sent a letter today calling on Gov. Rick Perry and other state officials to allow for DNA testing death row inmate Hank Skinner says could prove his innocence.
They asked Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Gray County District Attorney Lynn Switzer to halt Skinner's scheduled Nov. 9 execution until the testing is done.
“There is simply no justifiable reason why Texas continues to waste taxpayer dollars in its decade-long fight to prevent scientific testing in Mr. Skinner’s case,” the group wrote. “We implore you to take the lead in the search for truth in this case.”
Skinner was convicted in 1995 of killing his live-in girlfriend and her two sons in Pampa. He has maintained his innocence from the start, arguing that he was too inebriated from a mixture of vodka and codeine to overpower the three victims. He has pleaded with the state for more than a decade to test DNA he argues could show that another man was the killer.
The letter sent today and signed by former Gov. Mark White and current state Sens. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, cites the recent DNA-based exoneration of Michael Morton as an example of the importance of scientific analysis. Morton was convicted in 1987 of murdering his wife Christine Morton. He was released from prison this month, after serving nearly 25 years, based on DNA testing that showed another man likely killed Morton’s wife and another Austin woman. Investigators are currently seeking the man implicated by DNA testing in those killings.
Earlier coverage of the letter and the Hank Skinner case begins at the link.
The letter to Governor Perry, Attorney General Abbott, and the Gray County District Attorney -- signed by former Texas Governor Mark White and others -- is available in Adobe .pdf format.
Readers who wish to sign a petition urging DNA testing can do so at the link.