On August 17, 2022, the State of Texas executed Kosoul Chanthakoummane for the murder of Sarah Walker in Collin County in 2006. He was the second person put to death by the State of Texas this year and the ninth person convicted in Collin County to be executed.
Chanthakoummane also faced execution in 2021 and in 2017. Five years ago, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) granted a stay and ordered the trial court to review claims of discredited science. The CCA ultimately denied relief, however, agreeing with the trial court that now-discredited forensic science, including bitemark evidence and the use of hypnosis on two eyewitnesses, would not have changed the outcome of the trial. Three judges dissented from that October 7, 2020 opinion, finding Chanthakoummane’s “argument that hypnotically refreshed identification information led to unreliable identification testimony deserves further consideration.”
According to the Texas Tribune, in a recent filing with the CCA, Chanthakoummane’s attorneys argued that the DNA evidence used to convict him was also questionable. The CCA dismissed the writ application and denied the motion to stay his execution.
Read a synopsis of the discredited science from the Death Penalty Information Center.
Joe Walker, the father of Sarah, adamantly opposed the death penalty and extended mercy to Chanthakoummane. He explained how his faith led him to forgiveness in this profile piece developed by Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation about 10 years ago. You can also hear Mr. Walker in his own words in this video produced by the Knights of Columbus in 2016. Mr. Walker passed away in 2021.
The State has three more executions scheduled in the remaining months of the year; all three men faced execution dates in 2020 or 2021.