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Published:November 2nd, 2011 08:27 EST
Will Additional DNA Testing Be Conducted Before Nov 9th for a Condemned Hank Skinner?

Will Additional DNA Testing Be Conducted Before Nov 9th for a Condemned Hank Skinner?

By John G. Kays

Who owned a blood-stained windbreaker found near the body of Twila Busby? Did it belong to Twila`s deceased uncle Robert Donnell? Were allegations that Donnell was s(e)xually abusing his niece ever investigated properly? Who had the best motive to kill Twila Busby, Hank Skinner or Robert Donnell? While it is true that Hank Skinner was at the crime scene of a horrific triple murder, wasn`t he passed out on vodka and codeine at the time?

How can the State of Texas execute Henry Skinner on November 9th with so many unanswered questions left hanging in the wind? It`s good to hear about the letter filed with Governor Perry, the Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, and the Gray County District Attorney Lynn Switzer requesting further DNA testing needs to be done. But will this be enough pressure to get the DNA testing done? 

Knowledge of this particularly grisly case, that took place New Years Eve of 1993 in Pampa, Texas (near Amarillo), has been obtained only in a second-hand fashion (by me). One might argue that our criminal justice system has looked at this crime in a similarly uninvolved way. But dolling out a lethal dose of capital punishment is political in nature, so the buck stops with Rick Perry, who has overseen 236 executions while on his watch.

Last year the U. S. Supreme Court asked the lower courts to take another look at Skinner`s case, and see if his civil rights had been violated. There is no excuse for new DNA tests to not be conducted, since state lawmakers made changes (loosening restrictions to DNA testing) to an unfair 2001 law (still on the books) regarding DNA testing. Yet the district federal court in Amarillo is passing the decision for additional DNA testing on to the state courts. 

This is not a good sign for Hank Skinner, who`s been in this state-induced hell-trance before, coming within one hour of execution in March of 2010. Unless the case hits the national spotlight fairly soon, Hank may go down this time around. Executing convicted murderers in Texas is as simple as an expert marksman shooting plastic ducks on the Midway of The Texas State Fair. Then again, Rick Perry is running for president, so perhaps the `grinding wheels of injustice` can be halted.

Back to Hank`s confusing case. Why did his original trial attorneys not have many of this unusual evidence (skin under victim`s fingernails, sweat on windbreaker, bloody towel, knives, and rape kit) tested for DNA, while Skinner has said all along he never asked them to restrict the testing? The Texas Tribune did an interview with Skinner from Death Row (in February of 2010), which you can watch on YouTube. 

Unless Hank Skinner is a consummate actor and a con artist of the highest caliber, he gives a fairly convincing spiel for why he`s innocent. The killer had swung an axe-handle (according to Hank), and had busted an overhead light fixture. When Hank had awoken from his stupor, he had cut his hand badly, and this is why he left a lot of blood at the crime scene. He shows his huge scar in The Texas Tribune interview. 

Another convincing item (recalled by Mr. Skinner), that argues for his innocence, is that his body was tested for scratch marks, and none were detected by the (Pampa) police. Since Twila Busby had a great amount skin under her fingernails, we know the perpetrator must have had scratch marks on his upper torso, somewhere. Uncle Donnell was never tested for some such scratches. Reasonable doubt is screaming from the ruddy Walls Unit that houses Huntsville`s condemned!   

Interview with Henry "Hank" Skinner - YouTube