Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Crocodiles and Voting in India

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Plunging necklines throughout History

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Royal decree on low-cut tops

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin?

Read more

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

  • Ferry disaster, nuclear test fears cloud Obama’s South Korea trip

    Read more

  • US warns Russia against making ‘expensive mistake’ in Ukraine

    Read more

  • US moves to tighten rules on e-cigarettes

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • French policemen accused of raping Canadian woman

    Read more

  • Internet should stay free of government intervention, conference says

    Read more

  • A radio station defends peace and tolerance in CAR

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • Fresh clashes in Rio over dancer's death

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

Americas

US court to hear Texas death row inmate's DNA case

©

Video by Carla WESTERHEIDE

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-25

In a case backed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the US Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by a Texas death row inmate who claims DNA evidence could prove his innocence in a triple murder.

AFP - The US Supreme Court has agreed Monday to review the case of a Texas death row inmate who won a last-minute reprieve after France backed calls for new DNA tests.

In March, the court stayed the execution of convicted murderer Hank Skinner less than an hour before he was due to die, after his lawyers and France's ambassador made a plea for further DNA tests.

Skinner says the tests will prove his innocence in the 1993 New Year's Eve triple murder of his girlfriend and her two sons.

Skinner, 47, is married to a French anti-death penalty campaigner he met after he was convicted in 1995 for the killings. The couple, married two years ago, have yet to embrace due to a criminal justice system that requires total physical isolation for death row inmates.



French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner have expressed their support to Skinner's French wife, Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner. France abolished capital punishment in 1981.

The court is now due to take up the case in its new session which will open later this year.

"We are pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Mr. Skinner's appeal," his lawyer Rob Owen said in a statement.

"That decision represents the necessary first step to our eventually obtaining the DNA testing that Mr. Skinner has long sought."

The Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles rejected Skinner's DNA test request, leaving his fate in the hands of the US Supreme Court and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Texas leads all other US states in the number of people it has executed -- 457 since 1976, including 10 so far this year.

In recent years, 17 US death row prisoners have been released after DNA tests proved their innocence.

Some DNA evidence was presented during Skinner's trial to ascertain that he had been present in his home in the Texas town of Pampa when the murders were committed -- a point the defense never contested.

But he says that a third person must have committed the murders because he had passed out under the influence of anti-anxiety medication, painkillers and alcohol at the time. Blood tests at the time confirmed the presence of the drugs in his bloodstream.

Skinner's defense insists he was physically incapable of killing his girlfriend Twila Jean Busby, 40 -- who was fatally beaten with an axe handle -- and her two sons, aged 20 and 22, who were stabbed to death.

Ten years ago Skinner won the support of David Protess, a journalism professor at Northwestern University, who re-examined the case with his students and the DNA evidence, and concluded Skinner is innocent.

The journalism professor also noted that Skinner's alleged victim had complained on the night of the murder of being harassed by her uncle, who has a violent past but was not questioned during the investigation into her murder.

Date created : 2010-05-24

  • USA

    Supreme Court grants Texas inmate last-minute stay of execution

    Read more

  • USA

    France issues last-minute plea for death row inmate

    Read more

  • USA

    Death row inmate seeks urgent DNA tests to prove 'innocence'

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)