From the Sceptical Juror comes an update about the Skinner case: “The Supreme Court has handed down its rulings for May 17, 2010. There is no mention of Hank’s petition for a writ of certiorari. The next time the court will announce its rulings is next Monday, 24 May.”
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 we should test these? Read it here: “Untested DNA Evidence – Henry Skinner Case.” As soon as new information will become available, it will be posted here.
Hank Skinner is on death row for the 1993 murders of Twila Busby and her two mentally impaired sons Randy Busby and Elwin Caler. Skinner is supported by various organizations who are fighting for post-conviction access to pretrial evidence to be tested with modern technology in particular testing items for DNA.
There is substantial doubt that Skinner is wrongfully convicted in this case. The state announced in 2012 that a crucial piece of evidence is lost. There are still unanalyzed crime scene objects in this case as well as DNA from an unknown contributor found on a knife at the crime scene. On February 3-4, 2014 an evidentiary hearing took place in Pampa, Texas. The prosecution argued that the tests only confirmed Skinner’s guilt. The defense said the results raised enough questions about the real identity of the perpetrator. A jury would not have condemned him to death.
In July 2014, Judge Steven Emmert ruled that it was reasonably probable that Skinner would have been convicted of triple murder even if the DNA evidence had been available at his 1995 trial. In 2016 we learned that a new DNA interpretation might shed a clearer light on this case.