After the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Hank Skinner’s request for a reprieve, the death row inmate now has only two avenues in which to plead his case for additional DNA testing before tomorrow’s scheduled execution, the United States Supreme Court and Governor Rick Perry.
A variety of news sources, local, statewide, and national have called for the governor to take action with a stay of execution to provide time for the necessary DNA testing that would once and for all prove or disprove Skinner’s innocence.
An article from retired federal Judge H. Lee Sarokin with the Huffington Post discusses the urgent need to stay Skinner’s execution with the following, “The State of Texas has taken the phrase: ‘Better that 100 (or 10) men go free than one innocent person convicted’ and turned it on its head to: ‘Better one innocent man be executed rather than spend 100 minutes conducting tests to prove his innocence.” The full article is available here.
The Houston Chronicle wrote an article in the March 19, 2010 edition that stated “We desperately hope that either the U.S. Supreme Court of Gov. Rick Perry will stay Skinner’s execution long enough to run DNA tests. Before sending a man to die, we need to be absolutely sure of his guilt.” Full article available here.
The L.A. Times wrote an article in their March 19th, 2010 edition which more clearly details the Skinner trial and the recent questioning of possible innocence by the work done with the Medill Innocence Project and Northwestern University. Full article available here.
San Antonio Express News, in an editorial published March 20, 2010, issued the following, “DNA evidence arrived too late to help Timothy Cole. It’s not too late, however, for Perry to avoid the possibility of issuing another posthumous pardon.” Full article available here.
The Ft. Worth Star Telegram had the following to say in a March 20, 2010 editorial piece, “As a resident of this state…I do not want the death or another innocent man on my hands- or my conscience.” Full article available here.
The Dallas Morning News wrote, “The governor stands with the majority of Texans in support of the death penalty, a position this newspaper does not share. Despite that difference in philosophy, there must be common ground in one regard: The finality of Texas justice should be airtight.” Full article available here.
And finally the Austin American Statesman wrote the following after the BPP denied Skinner’s request for a reprieve, “We believe that even the most ardent supporters of capital punishment, confronted with the facts, will join Skinner in asking Gov. Rick Perry for a 30-day reprieve.” Full article available here.
With no word as of Tuesday afternoon from the governor’s office on the 30-day requested reprieve, Hank Skinner will be executed, as scheduled, Wednesday, March 24, 2010.