3.24.08  UPDATE- 



        ” The Innocence Project doesn’t represent Skinner, and we don’t know whether he is guilty or innocent. It is clear, however, that DNA testing should be conducted in Skinner’s case before he is executed.”

                                                                                                  The Innocence Project


Texas Execution Set for Tomorrow Despite Untested DNA

Hank Skinner   
Texas authorities are scheduled to execute Hank Skinner tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. CDT despite untested DNA evidence that could prove his innocence or guilt.

From the moment he was arrested more than 16 years ago for a triple murder, Skinner has maintained his innocence. He has requested DNA testing for a decade, but Texas courts have repeatedly denied the tests.

Thousands of people from around the world have sent letters to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, urging him to delay Skinner’s execution date so DNA testing can proceed. Will you join them by taking action right now?

Yesterday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles announced that it was not recommending clemency in Skinner’s case. His last hopes for a stay that could allow testing to proceed are the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has an appeal pending, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who can order a 30-day delay.

Skinner was convicted in 1995 of killing his live-in girlfriend and her two adult sons. His attorneys say they have developed evidence since his trial that calls his guilt into doubt and points to the possible involvement of an alternate suspect. Among the evidence Skinner is seeking to test are knives from the crime scene, hairs from the victim’s hand and a windbreaker possibly worn by the perpetrator.

The Innocence Project doesn’t represent Skinner, and we don’t know whether he is guilty or innocent. It is clear, however, that DNA testing should be conducted in Skinner’s case before he is executed.

Please take action today by calling on Texas Gov. Rick Perry to stay the execution.

Photo: Texas Tribune

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  1. Tina Trent on March 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I’m curious: what are your grounds for supporting the DNA testing? As in so many other cases where DNA testing grabs headlines, he was found guilty on other evidence. And in murder cases where DNA might point to a criminal partner, at best, it is sometimes used to wrongfully acquit.

  2. Steve Hodel on March 30, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    As I indicated I am not up to speed on the particulars of this specific case. My support for testing the DNA is generic. I believe “due process” obligates us to pursue potential exculpatory evidence before taking a life. All of the Innocence Project’s 251 wrongful prosecutions were “found guilty on other evidence” but were in truth innocent.
    In a quick read/review of the below transcripts from a Larry King Show devoted to Hank Skinner and the Supreme Court ruling apparently untested potential DNA evidence exists from hair follicles under the victim’s fingernails, which may or may not belong to Skinner. A test would certainly be in order. Testimony has been presented that another relative may have been the actual killer. I’m not arguing the truth or validity of this claim, I’m simply saying, as a trained criminal investigator, that evidence, as well as additional tests, should be allowed to be conducted before any execution occurs.
    Below link is a transcript laying out some of the facts as heard on the Larry King Show.
    Best Regards,

  3. Tina Trent on April 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Well, not all 251 are actually innocent. In many of the IP cases, men convicted on sound evidence are being represented in the media as victimized innocents when in reality they simply did not leave DNA behind at a gang rape or rape-/murder committed by them and at least one other offender. That may be why a statistically anomalous percentage of IP cases involve gang rapes and rape/murders. The media is bluntly ignoring or misrepresenting the original evidence in these cases and simply parroting IP propaganda. The actual “causes for wrongful conviction” cooked up by the IP are also being uncritically reported as fact.
    Fact remains, the number one way to get wrongfully convicted is to be a known criminal, of sex crimes or other violent offenses. Number two is to associate with or be related to the actual offender.
    None of this makes any single wrongful conviction less wrong, but the myths about prisons stuffed with innocent men, guys grabbed off the streets and maliciously accused, victims randomly picking men — they’re all being fed by the misreporting of these cases. I would have less trouble enthusiastically endorsing DNA testing in these types of cases if the evidence from the original convictions were being accurately presented in the reporting, but that’s simply not happening.
    Thanks for your insights here, and thanks, too, for trying to get Rodney Alcala off the streets in 1971. You could have saved a lot of women and girls, if only the system had listened to you then.

  4. Steve Hodel on April 2, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Tina: Re. Alcala’s original arrest in ’71 and early release.
    No question “The System” failed us BIG-TIME with tragic, tragic results.
    Thank you for you own comments/input. SKH

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