Sundeep Bhatia’s observation is one I agree with: “But the request to test the DNA evidence is not really about the conviction or sentence. It’s about the evidence and the possibility that it may shed some light on who the real killer is. Skinner hopes it is exculpatory. But it may be inculpatory. Skinner doesn’t know. And that’s why this case should be a no-brainer for the court. It’s not about the conviction or the sentence.”
Mr. Skinner has asked for DNA testing of seven items:
(1) vaginal swabs taken from Twila Busby at the time of her autopsy;
(2) Twila Busby’s fingernail clippings;
(3) a knife found on the front porch of the Busby house;
(4) a knife found in a plastic bag in the living room of that house;
(5) a dishtowel also found in that bag;
(6) a windbreaker jacket found in the living room next to Ms. Busby’s body; and
(7) any hairs found in Ms. Busby’s hands that have not been destroyed by previous testing
According to the State, all these items still exist; they are in a condition that would permit forensic DNA testing to be performed; and an appropriate chain of custody has been maintained to safeguard their integrity.
Why should we test these items?
Testing the vaginal swabs could yield important results because when Ms. Busby’s body was found, her shirt was pulled up and her pants unzipped. The medical examiner found erythema, or reddening of the skin, around her vaginal area, indicating recent sexual activity. The identity of the person with whom she had sex shortly before her murder could shed important light on who attacked her. The failure of the State to test these swabs is inexplicable.The same is true of Ms. Busby’s fingernail clippings. It is reasonable to believe, based on the nature of her injuries, that Ms. Busby struggled with her attacker. That being the case, it is highly likely that her fingernail clippings could yield the presence of the assailant’s DNA. Similarly, the medical examiner acknowledged that the hairs found in Ms. Busby’s right hand could have come from her murderer.
The knives, either of which could have been used to kill Ms. Busby’s two sons, could likewise yield the DNA of the person who used them. In addition, the absence of Mr. Skinner’s blood on those knives would disprove the prosecution’s theory that the profusely bleeding cut in the palm of Mr. Skinner’s hand was self-inflicted when the knife he used to kill Randy Busby first struck Busby’s shoulder blade, causing Mr. Skinner’s hand to slide down the blade. Eliminating that inference would prove that Mr. Skinner’s injury was a defensive wound, consistent with his claim of innocence.The bloody dish towel could have been used by the killer to wipe blood from his hands.
Finally, the ownership and presence of the windbreaker jacket found next to Ms. Busby’s body has never been explained. It is similar to one that Mrs. Debra Ellis testified she often saw Donnell wearing. It was Donnell’s size, and it contained hairs and sweat stains that, if tested, could identify its owner.
Read the article here.