In less than three weeks, Hank Skinner is scheduled to be executed in Texas for three murders he says he didn't commit. Despite the existence of untested DNA evidence that could prove him innocent or confirm his guilt, the state is seeking to go forward with his lethal injection on Feb. 24.
Even by the standards of our most execution-happy state, it's unacceptable that officials would put a prisoner to death while ignoring scientific evidence that could prove him innocent.
The case for Skinner's innocence is by no means certain. On the other hand, the case for DNA testing is clear.
Skinner admits he was in his house when his girlfriend and her two sons were killed, and he was found hours later by police at an ex-girlfriend's house with the victims' blood on his clothes and a gash in his hand. But there's an alternate suspect that exists, as well as evidence that hasn't yet been tested. A reasonable observer could raise doubt over his case, and scientific evidence can offer finality. Texas should conduct these tests before it carries out a punishment it can't reverse.
Send a letter right now to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles supporting Skinner's clemency petition so he can continue to seek DNA testing in the case.
Send a letter right now to Gov. Rick Perry, urging him to stay Skinner's execution so DNA testing can be conducted.