The Houston Chronicle reports, "Opposing lawyers argue over DNA evidence in 1993 triple murder," by Allan Turner.
For more than a decade convicted triple killer Henry Skinner insisted that DNA testing of previously unexamined crime scene evidence would definitively establish his innocence. But as opposing legal teams Friday tried to convince a Texas Panhandle judge to accept their versions of what the test results mean, it seems the long-running legal battle is anything but over.
Skinner, 52, was convicted in the 1993 New Year's Eve murder of his live-in girlfriend, Twila Busby and her two adult sons, Elwin Caler and Randy Busby.
Twice he received last-minute stays of execution as his lawyers sought to obtain testing of dozens of pieces of crime scene evidence. Ping-ponging from the Pampa trial court to the U.S. Supreme Court, his case became a cause célèbre among death penalty foes who felt it reflected a Texas blood lust intent on exacting unjust vengeance.
In late 2011, lawyers from both sides finally agreed DNA testing could move forward. Oral arguments based on test findings were presented to Gray County state District Judge Douglas Robinson in February.
On Friday, Skinner's lawyer Robert Owen filed a recommendation to Robinson that he rule that the test results - if available at Skinner's 1995 trial - would have generated a reasonable doubt about guilt and saved the one-time paralegal's life.
"Attorneys file briefs in death row case," is the AP report, via the San Angelo Standard-Times.
Hank Skinner’s defense team asked the judge to rule that it is “reasonably probable” he would have been acquitted in the 1993 slayings of his girlfriend and her two sons in Pampa if jurors had heard testimony about DNA evidence gathered at the crime scene, the Amarillo Globe-News reported.
Attorneys for the state argued in their findings filed Friday that much of the DNA evidence in the case points solely to Skinner as the killer.
"AG, Lawyers for Hank Skinner Argue Over DNA in Death Penalty Case," is by Terri Langford for the Texas Tribune.
Lawyers for death row inmate Hank Skinner told a court, in documents filed Friday, that testing on long-sought-after DNA evidence in his case should be enough to forestall his execution. State prosecutors, who also submitted legal arguments on Friday, said the same evidence should convince the judge to confirm the 52-year-old's death sentence.
Jurors in 1995 found Skinner guilty of strangling and bludgeoning to death his live-in girlfriend, Twila Busby, and fatally stabbing her two adult sons, Elwin Caler and Randy Busby.
Skinner has long proclaimed his innocence. He has said he was so intoxicated from a mixture of vodka and codeine that he could not have overpowered the victims. Since 2001, Skinner has sought DNA testing to prove his theory that the real killer was Busby's maternal uncle, who has since died but had a history of violence. State prosecutors agreed to testing in 2012.
Earlier coverage of Hank Skinner's case begins at the link.