Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hank Skinner: Defence and State lawyers agree on more testing - but a jacket claimed to be a critical piece of evidence pointing to another suspect remains lost; Texas Tribune;

STORY: "Lawyers agree to more DNA testing in Skinner case," by reporter Brandi Grissom, published by the Texas Tribune, on April 2, 20134.

GIST:  "After conducting hundreds of tests on samples of blood, hair, sperm, fingernail clippings and other crime scene evidence, prosecutors in the Texas attorney general's office and lawyers for death row inmate Hank Skinner have signed an agreement this week to allow more DNA testing in the 1993 triple murder for which he was sentenced to death. The lawyers signed an agreement that allows more advanced DNA testing on samples of carpet from the crime scene, hair found on one of the victims' hands, and blood from Skinner and the other two murder victims. Skinner was convicted in 1995 of the murders of his live-in girlfriend, Twila Busby, and her two adult sons in Pampa. Skinner has maintained his innocence, arguing that he was unconscious on the couch at the time of the killings, intoxicated from a mixture of vodka and codeine. Beginning in 2000, he sought DNA testing that he contended would prove his claims. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed his execution less than an hour before he was scheduled to die and agreed to hear arguments in his case. Skinner asked for testing on a slew of crime scene evidence that was not analyzed at his original trial, including a rape kit, biological material from Busby’s fingernails, sweat and hair from a man’s jacket, a bloody towel and knives. Lawyers for Skinner and for the state finally signed an agreement in June 2012 that allowed the testing to begin. Since then, hundreds of test have been conducted. The first two rounds of testing were paid for by the state, and the upcoming third round of tests will be paid for by Skinner's supporters......... Skinner has argued that investigators should have looked at Busby's uncle, Robert Donnell, who has since died. Donnell had a history of violence, and witnesses reported that he was making advances toward Busby shortly before the murder. But testing has not been done on a man’s jacket found at the scene that matched the description of one that witnesses said Donnell often wore. That item has been lost. Owen has said the jacket is a critical piece of evidence that must be found. “It is difficult to understand how the state has managed to maintain custody of items as small as fingernail clippings, while apparently losing something as large as a man's windbreaker jacket," Owen said in a previous statement."

The entire story can be found at:


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