DNA Testing Granted in Alabama Death Row Case


An Alabama judge ordered DNA testing Wednesday in the case of a man who has been on death row for a quarter-century for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Tommy Arthur has been seeking DNA tests for years but has met resistance from prosecutors and state officials. The Innocence Project has consulted with Arthur’s attorneys on the case and has called for DNA testing that could prove Arthur’s guilt or innocence. Thousands of Innocence Project supporters have also written to Alabama Gov. Bob Riley urging him to grant DNA testing in the case.

Arthur returned to court Tuesday as his attorneys asked Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Teresa Pulliam to consider new evidence, including the confession of Bobby Ray Gilbert, who claims to have killed Wicker. The hearing was in Birmingham because Arthur's most recent trial took place there in 1991.

After listening to more than 10 hours of testimony in two days, Pulliam ordered testing on a wig prosecutors claim Arthur wore while shooting Wicker, a human hair found on a house shoe at Wicker's home and the blouse, jeans and panties worn by Wicker's wife, Judy, to determine if they contain DNA from Gilbert or Arthur.

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. (Times Daily, 04/16/09)

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