On November 9th, the state of Texas plans to execute Hank Skinner for murdering his live-in girlfriend Twila Busby and her two adult sons Randy Busby and Elwin Caler. The crime happened in 1993 and Skinner has been on death row since 1995. But as with the recent case of Troy Davis, there are worrying signs that the execution could go ahead despite serious questions about Skinner’s guilt.
A star witness from the original case has recanted her testimony, although this recantion was ruled unreliable. Meanwhile, Skinner has repeatedly requested DNA testing of crucial evidence, requests that have been for the most part denied. Maintaining his innocence, Skinner runs his own website where he presents evidence that he says supports his defence. A petition calling for a stay of execution has also been launched.
As with the Troy Davis case, the issue here isn’t really Hank Skinner’s guilt or innocence. The issue is the process of law, and the fact that there is once again clearly sufficient cause for a reasonable person to doubt the original conviction. In which case, should Skinner be put to death?