25 October 2009

Will Texas execute another innocent man?

Recently we learned that Texas executed an innocent man, Cameron Todd Willingham, in 2004.

Now it appears that they might repeat this kind of injustice on Tuesday, October 27 -- Reginald Blanton's scheduled execution date. Blanton was convicted of fatally shooting his friend, Carlos Garza, and then stealing $79 worth of jewelry from Garza's home, where the murder took place.

According to Randi Jones of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP), "Reginald's case exemplifies serious prosecutorial misconduct. They systematically excluded African Americans from the jury pool."

Jones also noted that there is no physical evidence linking Blanton to the crime, and that Blanton was forced to rely on an incompetant public defender who failed to present evidence of innocence at the original trial.

As if that's not enough to establish reasonable doubt, Blanton's MySpace page provides some additional reasons why we should be very, very concerned:

• The initial suspect could not be found.

• The only two witnesses were forced to sign statements against Blanton, under threats of being charged with the crime.

• And the shoe print on the victim's kicked-in apartment door did not match the shoes Blanton wore the day of the crime.

This looks to me like a truckful of reasonable doubt. And there is no excuse to execute someone when there is reasonable doubt as to his guilt.

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