France urges Texas to stay inmate's execution

4th November 2011, Comments 1 comment

France on Friday urged authorities in Texas to put off the execution of a death row inmate, voicing concern over a court's refusal to allow DNA testing that he claims would prove his innocence.

A Texas court on Thursday refused the request for the DNA tests by 49-year-old Hank Skinner, who has been on death row for 16 years and is married to French death penalty activist Sandrine Ageorges.

He is set to be executed on Wednesday.

"France expresses its concern following the Texas court's refusal to accept the request for DNA tests," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"As judicial appeals in the state of Texas and at the federal level have not been exhausted, France considers it essential that the November 9 execution date be lifted," it said.

Skinner was convicted of bludgeoning his girlfriend to death and fatally stabbing two of her children.

He has not denied being present in the home at the time of the killings but he has insisted that DNA collected at the site could clear him as a suspect in the 1993 crimes.

Skinner has maintained his innocence since the beginning and has pleaded with authorities for more than a decade to test DNA he says could prove that someone else killed the trio.

The state has long refused, citing a restrictive state DNA testing law. But lawmakers made changes to the law this year that lifted many of the restrictions.

"France wants Mr. Skinner to be able to benefit from the new guarantees offered by this law. No factors can be ignored when the death penalty is concerned," the ministry statement said.

© 2011 AFP

1 Comment To This Article

  • Dudley Sharp posted:

    on 7th November 2011, 15:35:47 - Reply

    The Guilt of Texas death row inmate Henry "Hank" Skinner
    Dudley Sharp

    cc: to hundreds in the media and many others

    Skinner confessed and the confession was deemed inadmissible, but is part of the appellate record.

    Skinner offered to plead guilty to one of the three murders, in exchange for a life sentence. The plea was refused.

    Skinner would have us believe that a completely incapacitated Skinner, somehow, traveled the 4 blocks from the murder scene, somehow, found his ex girlfriend's house, somehow, had the sense to hide in her closet, all while he was covered in blood from the crime scene.

    Skinner's own blood spatter expert found that Skinner's "passed out" story was inconsistent with the blood being all over Skinner.

    Skinner's defense is that he was completely incapacitated the night of the murders, a defense which is contradicted by his confession, by the blood spatter evidence and by his travels to his ex girlfriend's house?

    Why did Skinner chose to walk the 4 blocks to his ex girlfriends house, instead of calling the police?

    Skinner refused additional DNA testing because he was implicated by the prior, multiple DNA tests, pre trial, that tied him to the crime scene and he didn't want more DNA to hurt his case.

    The only reason for such denial of additional DNA testing is that Skinner knew additional DNA evidence would harm him even more.

    Skinner, his defense counsel and other death penalty opponents are saying that the untested DNA will prove Skinner innocent, meaning that Skinner decided, pre trial, that it was better to face a death sentence than to face freedom, the only "logic" for
    Skinner's refusal of the additional DNA testing, when he "knew" it would prove his innocence. Absurd, of course.

    Could this just be another anti death penalty fraud?

    Why not test the additional DNA?

    What Texas is attempting to prevent, now, in testing the additional DNA that Skinner refused to test, pre trial, is a very bad precedent, to wit:

    In a successful effort to delay his execution, even more, Skinner files motions to test the DNA material he had previously rejected testing, pre trial.

    If Skinner succeeds, this sets a precedent that, within certain cases, which can be managed, just so, the defendant will be able to go back and say, wait a minute, I don't like the outcome of my trial, because of the strategy I chose, I want a do-over, via new trial or appeals, so maybe I can get a better result next time.

    It is a horrible precedent, which the state must fight and for which all criminals, defense counsel and their supporters are drooling over, both for very good and obvious reasons.

    Some in the media, inexcusably, are not presenting those facts to their readers