Hank Skinner’s execution stayed amid international action
For the second time in less than two years, the execution of a US death row inmate likely to be innocent was stayed at the last moment following international outcry.
After Troy Davis in October 2008, Hank Skinner saw his execution suspended by the US Supreme Court on March 24, less than one hour before the scheduled time of his execution by lethal injection.
The Supreme Court will now examine which legal avenue may be admitted to accommodate the possibility of fresh DNA analysis, which the defence has been requesting for 15 years.
Speaking on Larry King Live, CNN’s flagship talk show, Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner, the wife of Hank and a representative of the Texas and World coalitions against the death penalty, said: “It is just mind- boggling that evidence preserved from the crime scene, 15 years later, including the murder weapons, a rape kit, nail clippings from one of the victims, a male jacket that doesn’t fit his size at all with sweat, hair, DNA, to this day, is not tested.”
Watch an extract below:
Read the full transcript of the show here.
The risk of executing an innocent
World abolitionists have been highlighting this case and that of Troy Davis to show that in the US and elsewhere, the judiciary is not immune to mistakes. The very existence of the death penalty thus creates the risk of executing an innocent, as happened in another case debated in Texas recently.
As before each execution, Texas death penalty opponents had gathered around Huntsville prison. But this time, they were not alone: in Paris, Together Against the Death Penalty and the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, both members of the World Coalition had called a protest next to the US embassy.
Sandrine Ageorges Skinner is a French national and the French ministry of foreign affairs said it had made representations to the US authorities asking that her husband’s live be spared and his case re-opened. A ministry spokesperson added that France had asked the US to “establish a moratorium on capital executions as a first step towards the death penalty”.
The mobilization to prevent Hank Skinner’s execution extended beyond the borders of those two countries, as illustrated in the numerous calls for clemency posted to the Facebook page of Texas Governor Rick Perry.