State of Texas set to carry out nation’s first execution of the year

Tonight, January 11, 2017, Christopher Wilkins is scheduled to be put to death for the 2005 murders of Mike Silva and Willie Freeman in Fort Worth. His October 2015 execution date was withdrawn at the request of Tarrant County prosecutors, who sought the delay after the Texas Forensic Science Commission raised concerns about DNA statistics and the interpretation of mixed DNA evidence. This is the first execution scheduled to take place in the United States in 2017.

According to the Texas Tribune, “Wilkins has one appeal still pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. His attorneys are seeking to stop the execution and have courts further review his case, partially because his previous appellate lawyer accepted a job with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office while still representing him.”

Read more about his case from the Tribune and the Associated Press.

There currently are eight other executions scheduled to take place in Texas through the end of June; this includes three other cases from Tarrant County.