TX Death Row Inmate to Test New Law on Evolving Forensic Science


More than a decade after Robert Avila was convicted of stomping to death his girlfriend's 19-month-old son in a fit of jealousy, he faces execution. Now, after years of fighting to prove his innocence, Avila hopes a new law will give him a new trial, reports the Texas Tribune. In their last session, Texas legislators approved the nation’s first law that allows courts to grant defendants new trials in cases in which forensic science has evolved.

Avila contends that recent developments in biomechanical science unavailable at his 2001 trial indicate that Nicholas Macias's death may have been the result of an accident. Jaime Esparza, the El Paso County district attorney, said he was not convinced that the jury's verdict, based on scientific testimony and a signed confession, was wrong. On Wednesday, a judge will hear arguments from both sides as Avila's lawyers seek to cancel his January 2014 execution date.

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