Alabama governor refuses to hear evidence in case scheduled for execution next week


Alabama Gov. Bob Riley today refused to discuss DNA testing in the case of Thomas Arthur with Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld and Staff Attorney Olga Akselrod. Arthur is scheduled to be executed next week for a murder he has always said he didn't commit. The Innocence Project doesn't take a position on Mr. Arthur's guilt or innocence, but says the state should test key DNA evidence in the case before executing a man who says he is innocent.

Less than two months ago,

Riley allowed Darrell Grayson to be executed

over the calls of several groups, including the Innocence Project, to first test DNA evidence in his case that could prove innocence or guilt.

"Our concern is that biological evidence may exist that could be subjected to DNA testing and prove whether or not (Arthur) is guilty," Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld said today. "Governor Riley this afternoon refused to even meet with us to get a clearer understanding of what DNA testing could show in this case and why testing should be conducted.  Rather than looking at the science, he is burying his head in the sand."

Read the full Innocence Project press release here


And a column in Sunday's Birmingham News calls for Riley to "do the right thing."

Defense lawyers are pleading with Gov. Bob Riley to do the right thing, to order tests using the DNA technology not available when Arthur was convicted of killing Troy Wicker in Muscle Shoals.

Riley should do it. Even the victim's sister, Peggy Wicker Jones, is supporting the effort. "I would like to have as much information as possible about what happened on the day my brother Troy was murdered," she said in a statement provided to the governor.

Read the full column here

. (Birmingham Daily News, 09/16/07)

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