executions forensic science Hank Skinner Texas Tribune Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals

Texas Tribune Article on Hank Skinner

Hank Skinner is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas on February 24th, 2010, wrongly so according to the 47-year-old inmate. Brandi Grissom of the Texas Tribune wrote an article entitled “Case Open” (January 28, 2010) which profiles the January 1993 murder of Twila Busby and her two mentally disabled adult sons for which Skinner was convicted of.

Skinner and Busby were both recovering alcoholics who became romantically involved in the small West Texas town of Pampa. On New Year’s Eve 1993, the two were scheduled to attend a friend’s party but Skinner was so intoxicated on a mix of alcohol and pain killers that Busby decided to attend the party alone. After receiving unwelcoming advances from her intoxicated uncle, Robert Donnell, Busby left the party with Donnell following shortly thereafter. This was the last time Twila Busby was seen.

Hank Skinner was immediately identified by Gray County Sheriff Randy Stubblefield as the primary suspect. After testimony from an ex-girlfriend placing Skinner at the scene of the crime (which was later retracted) and the selected DNA testing of only certain items from the crime scene, Skinner was convicted of the murders in March 1994. However, according to his attorneys, prosecutors in the case have “selectively used DNA testing to put a potentially innocent man on death row.” The lawyers insist that DNA testing of all items from the crime scene would clear Skinner’s name- “Texas is about to execute an innocent man- and the state has evidence that could prove it”.
In light of the recent controversy surrounding the use of forensic science to convict individuals of capital murder, Skinner and his lawyers are insistent on obtaining the right to further DNA testing of evidence to prevent the scheduled execution and keep the state from killing a potentially innocent man.
Read part one of this two part Texas Tribune article in its entirety here.