Doubts Raised About Guilt of Texan Set for Execution

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Unless courts or Gov. Greg Abbott step in to stop it, Texas will execute Terry Edwards on Thursday. This would be a reprehensible miscarriage of justice, contends Slate. Edwards’ conviction for capital murder was won in part because of a faulty forensic argument pushed by the prosecution and what appears to be a racially biased and likely unconstitutional jury-selection process. If the execution proceeds as planned, Slate says it would be “an irrevocable stain on a state justice system that leads the nation in wrongful convictions.”

While Terry Edwards took part in the burglary that led to the murder of two of his former co-workers at a Subway restaurant near Dallas, it’s less clear that he was the triggerman. Edwards’ attorneys have asked both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to delay the execution. The principal evidentiary problem with Edwards’ case surrounds the use of forensic testimony about gunshot residue. Despite the shooting having occurred at point-blank range, Edwards had no blood on his body, no gunshot residue on his hands, and none of the victims’ DNA on his person when he was picked up by police immediately after the crime occurred. A forensic analyst testified that Edwards might have either sweated away or wiped off “some of that residue.”

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