Henry Watkins "Hank" Skinner - TX - 11/09/2011

Started by Jeff1857, May 15, 2008, 06:26:50 PM

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Jeff1857

May 15, 2008, 06:26:50 PM Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 11:44:22 PM by JoeGuru
HOUSTON -- A federal appeals court is allowing a death row inmate to appeal his conviction for killing a mother and her two children in the Texas Panhandle more than 15 years ago.

Henry Watkins Skinner, 46, has won approval from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to pursue arguments that a police blood spatter report should have been used by his lawyers at his capital murder trial to bolster his defense.

Skinner was convicted of fatally bludgeoning his girlfriend, Twila Jean Busby, 40, with an ax handle, then fatally stabbing her two mentally impaired sons, Elwin Caler, 22, and Randy Busby, 20, at their Pampa home on New Year's Eve in 1993.

The New Orleans-based court, in granting what's known as a certificate of appealability, also agreed Skinner's trial lawyers should have called a woman as a defense witness to support his contention that another man was responsible for the slayings.

"We express no view on how any claims should be be resolved," a three-judge panel of the court said in its ruling posted late Wednesday.

Several other appeals claims were rejected, including one that sought additional DNA testing.

At his 1995 trial, moved 300 miles southeast of Pampa to Fort Worth on a change of venue, the defense acknowledged Skinner was present at the time of the killings but said he was passed out on the couch from a combination of alcohol and codeine.

In his appeal, Skinner said the blood spatter report suggests Caler was in the immediate vicinity of his mother at the time of her assault, meaning the murderer would have had to "fend off two live victims at the same time," according to court documents. Skinner insisted he was too incapacitated to commit the slayings.

The appeals court said while the relevance of the blood spatter report "requires considerable speculation" to lead to a reasonable probability of an acquittal, "jurists of reason might disagree about the impact of the blood spatter report."

The court also said a woman's testimony at a federal court hearing "offered strong circumstantial evidence to corroborate the defense theory" that the neighbor was the murderer. The woman did not testify at Skinner's trial.

"Reasonable jurists could debate whether a reasonable attorney would have investigated further," the appeals court said.

The case for years bounced between state and federal courts amid arguments over the proper venue for appeals. In 2000, it came under scrutiny because of a lack of forensic testing despite a wealth of evidence and questions about the behavior of Skinner's trial attorney, Harold Comer, who left his post as Gray County district attorney after improperly borrowing $10,000 from a drug seizure fund.

Comer earlier prosecuted Skinner for car theft and assault. As a defense attorney, Comer couldn't object when prosecutors used those convictions as proof Skinner would be a future danger to society, one of the questions jurors must resolve when deciding on a death sentence.

Prison records show Skinner, who worked as a paralegal, received a five-year term for car theft in 1988 in Gray County, was paroled a year and a half later to Harris County, but was returned to prison six months later for violating his parole. He was paroled again in late 1989 and discharged in May 1993, seven months before the triple slaying.

He does not have an execution date.
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Another one that's hard to get rid of.


Michael


He does not have an execution date.


If hes unhappy about that - I can give him one...  ;)

Michael
Im not sure if theres a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

ScoopD (aka: Pam)

I use to read alot about this guy a few years ago on the web, not sure if it was in Cartwrights uncensored articles or what but he was spoke of often. I think he use to do legal work for some of the other inmates. Haven't heard much about him until now and this is not good news. I'm with Michael, I'd be happy to give him a date too!   :-*
<br /><br />If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. -Thomas Paine<br /><br />My reason for supporting capital punishment: My cousin 16 yr. old Amanda Greenwell was murdered in March of 2004 at the hands of serial killer Jeremy Bryan Jones.

Michael

Oh Pam, Im a gentleman... ;) If a lady wants to give him a date, so please do it...

Michael
Im not sure if theres a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

Henrik - Sweden

I also remember some page about him and some story written by himself. He seemed to be a quite intelligent and thoughtful person - a picture that didn't correspond very well with the person he obviously was at the time of the murders. But then again, that is one of my main objections about carrying out death sentences after a very long time. As someone wrote (It might have been Cartwright in fact): Death row changes everyone: Some for the worst but some also in another and better direction. But I'm also well aware of the fact that a person like Skinner - if released from prison - easily could fall back into old behaviour patterns.

Aside from that this case has something that I don't like. I don't hesitate about that most DR prisoners are guilty as charged. But this case obviously has some strange details and circumstances that are hard to explain. It could be one of those cases where the prosecution has been to eager to find someone who fits their picture of an "ideal suspect" and by becoming biased has failed to overlook other possibilities and circumstances that speaks against their suspect. With a bad defense during the trial there is a chance that you can end up like Kerry Cook. So especially now after he has been granted COA I wouldn't be to eager to wish for his soon-to-come execution if I were you pro guys/gals  ;)

Link to a wiki site here


Jeff1857

It's ok Henrik. We might not get him right now but there's about 60 other ones we will be getting soon.  ;)

Michael

Youre so generous Jeff!  ;)

Michael
Im not sure if theres a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

Michael

Appeal denied for condemned killer of 3

HOUSTON -- A federal appeals court has rejected a Texas inmate's appeal to have his murder convictions and death sentence thrown out over the New Year's Eve, 1993, slaying of his girlfriend and her two mentally impaired sons.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a ruling posted late Tuesday, rejected 47-year-old Henry Watkins Skinner's argument that defense attorneys at his capital murder trial should have used a police blood spatter report to bolster his defense.
Skinner was convicted of fatally bludgeoning Twila Jean Busby, 40, with an ax handle, then fatally stabbing her two mentally impaired sons, Elwin Caler, 22, and Randy Busby, 20. The killings occurred at their home in Pampa in the Texas Panhandle.
The New Orleans-based court last year allowed Skinner's lawyers to advance an appeal of the blood spatter report claim after a federal district judge rejected a similar appeal.
"We agree with the district court that Skinner has failed to demonstrate that the omission of the report was sufficiently prejudicial," the court wrote. "Even taking the report at face value, Skinner overstates its implications.
Skinner argued the report showed that the blood on Elwin Caler came from his mother, suggesting someone other than Skinner was the killer. He also argued his trial lawyers failed to uncover evidence that another relative of the victims' was the killer.
But the court ruled it was "not reasonably probable" that blood spatter evidence would have caused the trial jury to acquit Skinner.
"There was ample evidence that Skinner was the murderer," the court said.
Skinner's lawyers at his 1995 trial acknowledged he was present at the time of the killings but said he was passed out on the couch from a combination of alcohol and codeine and was too incapacitated to commit the slayings.
Skinner's case came under scrutiny in 2000 because of the lack of forensic testing conducted during the investigation, despite a wealth of evidence, and questions about the behavior of Skinner's trial attorney, Harold Comer, who left his post as Gray County district attorney after improperly borrowing $10,000 from a drug seizure fund.
Comer earlier prosecuted Skinner for car theft and assault. As a defense attorney, Comer couldn't object when prosecutors used those convictions as proof Skinner would be a future danger to society, one of the questions jurors must resolve when deciding on a death sentence.
Prison records show Skinner, who worked as a paralegal, received a five-year term for car theft in 1988 in Gray County, was paroled a year and a half later to Harris County, but was returned to prison six months later for violating his parole. He was paroled again in late 1989 and discharged in May 1993, seven months before the triple slaying.
Last November, Skinner was among numerous Texas death row inmates found contraband cell phones. An X-ray scan revealed a phone inside his rectum.
He does not have an execution date.

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=6916777
Im not sure if theres a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

JeffB

He does not have an execution date.

Hopefully that will soon be changed... 
"SO SUCK IT YOU "BLUE COOLER" DOPE!"  -  Sylar24

JT

;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Adios, Hank... JJS811 will be mortified... Hank is practically her best friend...  8)

Opinion: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions%5Cpub%5C07/07-70017-CV0.wpd.pdf.  (Only ten pages long - worth a read.)
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.

JeffB

JJS811 will be mortified  :o :'(

Aww, that's a shame...  She's on of my favorites at scumcentral...   ;)
"SO SUCK IT YOU "BLUE COOLER" DOPE!"  -  Sylar24

Granny B

#11
July 16, 2009, 09:08:33 PM Last Edit: July 16, 2009, 09:18:58 PM by Grandmother of Brandon
I remember this case well.  It happened about 100 miles from where I live.  I never doubted they had the right guy.  He was scum, he is scum and always will be scum.  He has not changed nor will he change.  Twila and her 2 sons learned that the hard way.

A woman who has worked for me the past 12 1/2 years, used to live in Pampa at the time of the murders.  She knew and liked Twila and her sons.  She says Henry was not stupid.  But he did like his drugs.  After he was caught for the murder, he wrote a letter that my friend received through her volunteer work with the library and turned it over to the police in case it would help with his prosecution.  She is ready to see an end to this farce of his life too.

He needs a date with the executioner, so he can start dancing with the devil.  Satan, you need one of your minions back. >:( :(
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

JT

#12
July 16, 2009, 09:28:14 PM Last Edit: July 16, 2009, 11:18:59 PM by JT
I don't believe his codeine-allergy excuse, either.  For those who aren't aware, Skinner avers that, on the night of the murders, he drank a few beers and took a codeine tablet.  He then had what he states was an allergic reaction and conveniently passed out.  When he woke up, he found his girlfriend beaten to death and her two sons stabbed.  (For the record, opiate allergies to exist, but what people identify as an "allergy" is usually nausea and vomiting, rather than a rare immunologic response.  They don't manifest themselves as a fainting event.)  After finding the bodies, Skinner travelled to the house of a former girlfriend, whereupon he confessed to the murders and threatened to kill her if she went to the police.  Subsequent DNA testing found that he had the blood of his girlfriend and one of the children on his shirt, and he had a fighting wound on the palm of his right hand.

Who thinks he's innocent?
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.

JT

JJS811 will be mortified  :o :'(

Aww, that's a shame...  She's on of my favorites at scumcentral...   ;)


This woman is as predictable as clockwork:

"Let me tell you something huh? Yesterday I learned that one of my dearest pen pals has had his request to have the DNA in his case refused. He now has little if any hope of surviving the executioners vengeance. You think I am in the frame of mind to listen to haters who come to this site to try to make us "see the error of our ways?" I can assure you NO I am not! I am now facing a difficult and very painful chapter in my life, and if I am feeling this way what do you think my friend - YES friend is feeling? Can you imagine how he feels, because I am damn well sure I can't and I know him!"

I'm reading around Scumbag Central right now.  It appears she's been as bitchy and whiny as hell today...

8)
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.

heidi salazar

Y'all are just giving the PTO another soap box to spew from! Rock On!!


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