Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bulletin: Hank Skinner: Top Texas criminal court hears his death row DNA plea: The Texas Tribune;

STORY: "Top criminal court to hear Hank Skinner and his death row DNA plea," by reporter Brandi Grissom, published in the Texas Tribune on May 2, 2012.

GIST: "Today, lawyers for Skinner, who is at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, will argue to the court that legal impediments to the testing that previously existed are gone. DNA testing, they say in court documents, could reveal not only that the death row inmate is innocent, but it could point to the real perpetrator. “The State may well have the wrong man, and, in combination with exculpatory DNA results, evidence that would very likely leave a rational jury harboring reasonable doubt about his guilt,” Skinner’s lawyers wrote in a brief to the court. The court must only decide whether the results of DNA testing, combined with other evidence, could cause a jury to have reasonable doubt about Skinner’s guilt, his lawyers argue. Skinner’s lawyers theorize in court filings that it was Busby’s uncle, Robert Donnell, who killed her. Witnesses reported seeing Donnell, who has since died, harass Busby at a party the night before the killing. The two had previously had sexual encounters, he had a violent history and neighbors reported seeing him cleaning his truck with a hose and stripping the carpet from it days after the murders. Skinner’s lawyers contend that toxicology reports show that Skinner would have been too inebriated at the time of the crimes to have been physically capable of strangling Busby to unconsciousness, stabbing her 14 times and then stabbing her two large sons to death. Additionally, the one witness who said Skinner confessed to the murders — an ex-girlfriend of his — has since recanted her testimony, saying authorities coerced her. But lawyers for the state argued in a court brief that “nothing that DNA testing might reveal would lead a jury to acquit Skinner of involvement in these murders.”



I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.