Last night, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed Texas’s planned Wednesday evening execution of Henry Skinner, who has fought to have DNA evidence tested so that he can prove his innocence. The court stayed the execution while it decides whether to review Skinner’s case. SCOTUSBlog reports:
If review is denied, the postponement will expire automatically and the state could then schedule execution anew. If review is granted, a ruling would not be expected until next Term, starting next October.
Last night, Larry King interviewed Skinner’s wife, Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner, and activist Curtist McCarty, a former death row inmate who was exonerated by DNA evidence. Ageorges-Skinner stated that the small amount of evidence that was tested prior to Skinner’s trial excluded him, and that the state witness who testified against him said she had been “threatened very seriously” and later recanted her testimony. Among the outstanding items that still have not been DNA tested include at least three possible murder weapons and a rape kit.
A man on death row’s fate should never come down to the wire like it did in Henry Skinner’s case. There is nothing more unthinkable than the execution of an innocent person. Where there is DNA evidence that could prove a person’s innocence, it absolutely must be tested before his execution.