Tag Archives: DNA

Execution in Texas

Again I am late.

The state of Texas executed Rodrigo Hernandez on Thursday, January 26. The state convicted him of sexually assaulting and strangling Susan Verstegen in 1994, leaving her body in a San Antonio trash can.

DNA evidence tied Hernandez to the brutal crime. Evidence also linked him to a 1991 murder in Michigan. One report says he confessed to both murders before his execution.

I grieve for Susan Verstegen – for her mother and son – for all who grieve for her.

I wonder at a judicial system that failed to identify Hernandez as a killer and remove him from circulation  in an efficient manner. But life imprisonment would serve that purpose. His execution by the state leaves me wondering why we believe that killing people demonstrates that killing is wrong.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty

Not knowing – knowing

A Texas court has stayed the execution of convicted murderer Henry “Hank” Skinner.

I do not know if he is guilty or innocent.

I know that he deserves every opportunity to prove his innocence – including DNA tests.

I do not know what that test will show.

I know that the murders of Twila Busby, Randy Busby, and Elwin Caler were horrific crimes, terrible violations.

I know that I grieve for them and all who love them.

I know that executing Hank Skinner will not bring them back, will not restore community; it will deny any possibility of rehabilitation for Skinner; it will be an act of violence that degrades our society.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty

Why won’t Texas perform a DNA test?

DNA tests have exonerated a number of individuals “convicted” of crimes in recent years.

In Texas, Hank Skinner has asked for a test of DNA evidence that he believes will prove his innocence. So far, his request has been denied.

Now time is running out. On Wednesday, Texas will execute Hank Skinner.

Skinner was convicted in 1995 of the murders of Twila Busby, and her two sons – Randy Busby and Elwin Caler.

Questions have been raised about Skinner’s guilt.

A larger question looms: Why won’t Texas perform the DNA testing?

Individuals can join former judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers, along with current and former elected officials who have called Texas state officials  not to execute Skinner until that DNA testing can be performed.

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty offers the opportunity to sign a petition.

I do not believe the state (any state) should execute individuals. I will continue to call for the abolition of the death penalty. But, I have signed the petition because I also believe that, if there are going to be executions, there should be as much certainty about their guilt as possible.

I pray for Hank Skinner and all who hold his fate.

I pray for Twila Busby, Randy Busby, and Elwin Caler and all who love them.

See you along the Trail.



Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Human Rights