DNA testing Hank Skinner innocence wrongful execution

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Votes No on Stay for Hank Skinner

TCADP released the following statement this evening in response to the Board of Pardons and Parole 7- 0 vote against clemency for Hank Skinner. Please call and fax letters to Governor Rick Perry requesting a 30 day stay for Hank Skinner. Talking Points are available at

Chelsea Thornton Buchholtz
Assistant General Counsel
Office of the Governor
1100 San Jacinto
Austin, Texas 78701
The fax number for the General Counsel’s office is 512-463-1932.

Governor’s Office:
Citizen’s Opinion Hotline: (800) 252-9600 [for Texas callers]
Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline: (512) 463-1782 [for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers]

The following is a statement from Rob Owen, one of Mr. Skinner’s attorneys, in response to the Board’s recommendation.

“We are disheartened that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has turned a deaf ear to Mr. Skinner’s plea for a stay of execution to allow for DNA testing of key evidence that could prove his innocence. It is now more urgent than ever that Governor Rick Perry not allow Wednesday’s execution to proceed until all of the facts are in. We urge the governor to take the reasonable and fair action of halting Mr. Skinner’s execution so that readily available scientific evidence can be tested before he is put to death on Wednesday. To do anything less means that the State of Texas is willing to risk the execution of an innocent man.”

Also, in recent days, thanks to your efforts, we are aware of more than 3000 letters that have been sent to Governor Perry by members and supporters of organizations who are urging the governor to stay Wednesday’s execution so that DNA testing can take place.

Thank you for urging additional letters to the Governor, along with letters to the editor and online comments. They are needed now more than ever.
Monday, March 22, 2010

CONTACT: Bob Van Steenburg, TCADP Board President
512-569-8928 (cell);

Today, March 22, 2010 Kristin Houlé, Executive Director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, issued the following statement in response to the decision by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to deny clemency to Hank Skinner.

Austin, Texas – The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) is dismayed that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has reccommended against a commutation or reprieve for Hank Skinner. Skinner is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, March 24 for the murder of Twila Busby, even though critical DNA evidence that was collected at the crime scene has never been tested. Mr. Skinner has steadfastly insisted he is innocent of the crime. It is inconceivable that the Board of Pardons and Paroles not act to prevent this execution when simple DNA testing may prevent a possible miscarriage of justice.
The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty echoes the call of Mr. Skinner’s attorneys in urging Governor Perry to not allow this execution to proceed until all the facts are known. It is inconceivable that the state of Texas would deny a person the right to have all evidence in his case properly considered before putting him to death.

This decision comes at a time of increased public scrutiny and growing awareness of the flaws and failures of the Texas death penalty system. TCADP strongly urges Governor Perry to stay the scheduled execution of Mr. Skinner to permit testing of the available DNA evidence.