News 03.18.10

Lab Offers Free Testing in Texas Death Row Case

A forensic laboratory in Phoenix has offered to conduct DNA testing on evidence in the case of Texas death row prisoner Hank Skinner free of charge. Chromosomal Laboratories announced yesterday that it was offering the tests after learning that the Innocence Project had called on Gov. Rick Perry to order a stay in the case so tests could be conducted.

“We hope that the great State of Texas will accept this offer in the manner in which it is intended, to help promote justice,” the laboratory’s announcement said.

The Texas Tribune reported that “Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said the governor has not yet decided whether to grant Skinner a reprieve and that a decision on DNA testing would come from the court.”

Read more on the

Dallas Morning News death penalty blog

and the

Texas Tribune blog

. As we’ve reported in previous days, Skinner was convicted in 1995 of killing his live-in girlfriend and her two adult sons. He has consistently maintained his innocence and has sought DNA testing through various courts for a decade.  Skinner’s 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.

In the last 24 hours alone, thousands of Innocence Project supporters have written to Gov. Perry to urge a stay of execution so DNA testing can proceed in Skinner’s case.


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