Texas Death Row Inmate Requesting More DNA Testing for 1995 Murders

Posted on Apr 09, 2013

Hank Skinner, a death row inmate convicted in 1995 of killing his live-in girlfriend and her two adult sons in Pampa, is getting a chance to prove his innocence. Prosecutors in the Texas attorney general's office and criminal defense lawyers for Skinner have signed an agreement to allow more DNA testing in the triple murder case.

Skinner has maintained his innocence through this whole ordeal, staying firm on the fact that he was unconscious on the couch at the time of the murders, intoxicated from vodka and codeine. In 2000, he started to ask for DNA testing and in 2010, an hour before his planned execution, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in his case.

Skinner requested testing on a lot of different crime scene evidence that was never analyzed in his original trial. This includes a rape kit, biological material from his girlfriend's fingernails, sweat and hair from a man's jacket, a bloody towel, and knives.

Hundreds of tests have been conducted since October 2012, but that first round of testing didn't help him much—his blood was on the handle of a knife from the crime scene. His lawyers said the DNA testing was incomplete and it indicated that another person may have been at the scene of the murder. One of Skinner's defense lawyers pointed out that the testing showed an unknown person's DNA on the carpet of the bedroom where the girlfriend's sons stayed.

Skinner thinks investigators should have looked at his girlfriend's uncle, Robert Donnell, who is no longer living. He said Donnell had a history of violence, and witnesses reported he was making advances toward Skinner's girlfriend shortly before the murders.

The Law Office of Walter Reaves extends condolences to the family and friends of Twila Busby and her two sons, and hopes that if Hank Skinner is indeed innocent, that the DNA evidence sets him free.

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