News 05.24.17

Urgent Action: Call Governor Ivey to Delay Execution of Potential Innocent

By Innocence Staff

Thomas “Tommy” Arthur, 75, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, May 25for a murder he has always maintained he didn’t commit. First convicted and sentenced to death in 1983 for the murder of Troy Wicker, Arthur has served longer than just about all others on death row. He has spent 25 of the last 34 years in the same five by eight-foot cell at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama.

For years, uncertainty and doubt have swirled around Arthur’s case, leading to seven prior stays of execution. No physical or DNA evidence links Mr. Arthur to the crime; even his finger prints do not match those found at the scene of the killing, yet the state has refused to allow advanced DNA testing of a crucial item of evidence that could determine his innocence.

Call Gov. Ivey (334) 242-7100 and ask for Tommy Arthur’s stay of execution

Advanced DNA testing is available that could prove once and for all who committed the murder. Arthur’s conviction is based almost exclusively on the testimony of Judy Wicker, the wife of the victim who first testified under oath that a burglar raped her and killed her husband. After she was convicted of murdering her husband and was sentenced to life imprisonment, Wicker made a deal with the prosecution: in exchange for release after only 10 years, she agreed to testify against Arthur, claiming that Arthur committed the murder, disguised in a wig.

Call Governor Ivey at (334) 242-7100 and urge her to stay the execution of Tommy Arthur so that she can order DNA testing —which will be paid for by Arthur’s pro bono counsel—that could prove his innocence.

Thomas “Tommy” Arthur, 75, on Alabama’s death row.

Arthur has long sought to do DNA testing of the wig, which could reveal the identity of the real perpetrator. His execution was stayed in 2009 for the purposes of conducting the testing. DNA was identified on the wig, but there was not enough material to develop a profile using the technology available to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. The state has refused to allow Arthur to conduct further testing. However, more advanced testing is available at no cost to the state that could prove Arthur’s innocence and identify the real perpetrator. Notably, the state also lost or destroyed the rape kit that could have also exonerated Arthur or help to identify the perpetrator.

The risk of executing an innocent person is far too great for Alabama to go forward with the execution of Tommy Arthur. This testing would be done at no expense to the state.

Please call Governor Ivey at (334) 242-7100 and urge her to stay Arthur’s execution.

You can read more about Arthur’s case here and here.

Related: Ledell Lee: ‘My life on death row is like Twilight Zone’

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