Here we go again, just like Troy Davis, Hank Skinner is scheduled to die with only days to live. November 9 is his execution date and he has been on death row since 1995. The star witness has recanted her testimony and others have implicated another man as the murderer of Skinner’s girlfriend and her two adult sons.
Skinner has requested a DNA test to be conducted on all of the evidence, however, the request has been denied. Of course, this is in Rick Perry’s ‘hang ‘em high’ Texas.
During his trial, the prosecution conducted DNA tests on the clothes Skinner was wearing, but for some reason decided against testing the rest of the evidence at hand, which includes a rape kit, the murder weapons, several hairs clutched in his girlfriend’s hand and a bloody windbreaker that strongly resembles that of the man accused by others as being the real killer.
The death penalty was established as a crime deterrent but only if the accused is guilty is beyond a reasonable doubt. The justice system has failed previously and will fail again in the future. History is repeating itself and the outcome may be determined after the typical partisan bickering which seems to prevail over our justice system, but time is short and a man’s innocence has yet to be determined through science.
The Gray County District Attorney’s office has neglected to order these tests for more than a decade without consequences. By signing this petition, you can let members of that office know that their actions are being watched, and that it is unacceptable to send a potentially innocent man to his death without collecting all the relevant evidence.
What you can do now:
Change.org has a petition posted. I don’t feel optimistic about petitions after witnessing the global outcry requesting a stay of execution for Troy Davis which ended instead in his death, courtesy of the State — but if we do not act, we are as guilty as the executioners. What the following petition addressed to Governor Perry is asking is strictly for the DNA testing to be conducted. One would think DNA testing is no-brainer but our justice system seems to be lost in Bizarro World. Are we asking too much of Texas to make certain through a simple scientific procedure that they do not allow a possibly innocent man to be killed by their hands?
The petition letter:
Withdraw Execution Warrant and Grant DNA Testing to Hank Skinner
Dear Governor Perry,
This year, the Texas legislators approved new standards for crime labs, compensation for the exonerated and revised statutes for post-conviction DNA. You signed those bills into law in order to improve and scrutinize a criminal justice system in need of reform. Considering that DNA testing has exonerated 275 prisoners in the United-States since 1989, including 43 in Texas, the overwhelming vote, both in the House and the Senate, in favor of the revised post-conviction DNA statute certainly is a welcome addition to the ongoing reforms you are supporting.
You signed SB122 into law on June 17, 2011. This bill is intended to ensure that if DNA evidence is available to prove someone’s innocence, it can and will be tested. This revised post-conviction DNA law was authored and sponsored by legislators who strongly supported the bill for people like Hank Skinner who is set for execution on November 9, 2011.
We urge you to uphold the very standards you are promoting as part of a very much needed criminal justice reform and we ask you to demand the withdrawal of the execution warrant and that DNA testing be granted to Mr. Skinner in the best possible time. We trust you to do the right thing for justice and for the truth in Texas, before it is too late.