Hank Skinner was set to be executed March 24 in Texas for a crime he says he didn't commit, even though DNA evidence that could prove his guilt or innocence has never been tested. Fortunately, just minutes before his death, the Supreme Court issued a stay of his execution, saying they wanted more time to consider his case. Now it's key that we keep the pressure up. Use the form below to urge Texas Gov. Rick Perry to support a stay of executions so DNA testing can proceed.
As you know, Skinner was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, March 24. Since he was arrested in 1994, he has maintained his innocence of the three murders for which he was convicted. Untested biological evidence from the crime scene could definitively prove his guilt or innocence, and these tests should be conducted before going forward with Skinner’s execution. It is critical to the public’s trust in the criminal justice system that every piece of evidence is examined before the ultimate punishment is carried out.
Skinner’s request for DNA testing is not new -- he has been seeking the tests for 10 years, and the evidence available is central to the identity of the perpetrator. Among the evidence Skinner is seeking to test are two knives from the crime scene, hairs from one victim’s hand and clippings of her fingernails, and a windbreaker possibly worn by an alternate suspect. Since Skinner’s trial, significant evidence of another person’s involvement in the crime has been developed. DNA testing could prove this theory or discredit it.
DNA testing has brought about a host of important reforms in the criminal justice system -- helping to apprehend the perpetrators of crimes and overturning more than 250 wrongful convictions nationwide, including 40 in Texas. Under your administration, Texas had approved several important reforms based on the lessons of DNA testing and wrongful convictions.
I know you’re well aware of the power of DNA evidence in cases like Skinner’s. If his execution is allowed to go forward despite the untested evidence, it will deal a harsh blow to the trust citizens have in the Texas criminal justice system to seek truth and justice above all else.
You have the authority to delay this execution so DNA testing can be conducted. Please don’t allow Hank Skinner to be executed when evidence exists that could tell us for sure whether he is guilty or innocent.
Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.