A Stay for Skinner

Hank Skinner was scheduled to die this week

A Stay for Skinner

The Court of Criminal Appeals on Nov. 7 granted a stay of execution for Hank Skinner, set to die this week for the 1993 slaying in Pampa, Texas, of his longtime girlfriend, Twila Busby, and her two grown sons. Skinner has consistently proclaimed his innocence, saying he was at home the night the family was murdered but was knocked out on a powerful combination of booze and codeine – to which he had an allergic reaction – and awoke to find the carnage. Since then, he's been fighting to get access to bloody evidence from the crime scene in order to conduct DNA testing that could prove his innocence or guilt. The Gray County district attorney has fought, and the district court has blocked, Skinner's bid for testing. With his execution set for Nov. 9, his lawyer, Rob Owen, who co-directs the Capital Punishment Clinic at the UT School of Law, asked the CCA to stay his execution while considering whether to grant his appeal for testing. The CCA "with its decision today, has ensured that Mr. Skinner's request for DNA testing will receive the thorough and serious consideration it deserves," he said. "We are grateful for the Court's action and look forward to the opportunity to make Mr. Skinner's case for DNA testing in that forum." (For more, see, "Last-Minute Appeals on Skinner Execution," Nov. 4.)

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

death penalty, capital punishment, Hank Skinner, courts, Court of Criminal Appeals, CCA, Rob Owen, DNA testing, wrongful conviction, Lynn Switzer

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