Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hank Skinner Part II: The Crime Scene

New Years Eve, 1993
Pampa, Texas

Elwin Caler had been stabbed multiple times in the chest and stomach. He was alive but mortally wounded. The neighbors found him sitting on their front porch, wearing nothing except a pair of bloody undershorts. They called for help. Elwin died at the hospital before he could reveal the identity of his killer.

Elwin was Twila Busby's 22 year old son, six-foot six-inches tall, 215 pounds, and mentally challenged. He lived at the house next to where he was found. His blood trail led back home.

There, on Twila's front porch, the police found a knife and some bloody gauze. There were no fingerprints on the knife. Perhaps someone had attempted to clean the knife with the guaze.

There was a bloody handprint on the front storm door. Investigators would remove the glass panel from the door, cover the handprint with a sheet of stiff paper, and tape the edges of the paper to the glass. They would secure the glass and its handprint in the evidence vault.

Beyond the door were bloody boot prints originating from copious blood stains on the living room floor. Twila Busby's body lay face down in that blood, her head smashed 14 times by an ax handle which leaned against the couch nearby. Whoever swung the ax handle did so with considerable force. Twila's skull was fractured. Bits of skull were driven all the way to the middle of her brain.

The overhead light was shattered, an unintentional victim of the ax handle. Broken glass was mingled with the blood below.

The medical examiner would later determine that Twila had been strangled, apparently before being bludgeoned. Her larnyx was crushed and one of her two hyoid bones broken.

Twila's pants were unzipped and her blouse pulled up. The investigators took a rape kit, swabbed for semen and combed for foreign hairs. The medical examiner would determine that Twila's vaginal area was reddened from intercourse.

Twila's fingernails were broken. She had put up a fight. She may have scratched her assailant and captured his DNA. Investigators clipped her nails and secured the clippings.

The body of Randy Busby lay face down on the upper bunk in the bedroom he shared with Caler. Randy was Twila's 20-year-old son. He was partially covered with a bloody blanket. He had been stabbed three times in the back. The lower bunk, where Caler slept, was free of blood. Caler had been stabbed elsewhere.

Clues abounded. There were four more bloody handprints to be found. One was a mere 18 inches off the floor on the frame of the boys' bedroom door. Two were on the back door, as if someone had left through that door while another person had left through the front.

The remaining handprint was on a garbage bag. Inside the bag, investiagtors discovered a second knife and a bloody dish towel. No fingerprints were found on the knife. Perhaps someone had attempted to clean this knife as well. If so, it would be the same modus operandi as that associated with the objects on the front porch.

The investigators also found a windbreaker on a chair in the living room. It was a DNA gold mine of blood, hairs, and sweat.

Hank Skinner, Twila's boyfriend and the only other member of the household, was nowhere to be found. He was last seen in a drunken stupor on the couch, in the living room, just a few feet from where Twila would fall into eternity.

In Part III of this series, the wheels of justice begin their grind.


Anonymous said...

I believe hank is innocent

Anonymous said...

I believe he is guilty as sin.

Corum said...

I knew the whole family. I was forced by my father to except them and play with Randy and Elwin. I didn't like it till I was confronted for shaking Randy's hand by people in high school. I still feel guilty for treating them like that. They were murdered along with their mother days after they were at my house playing basketball. Have some respect for the dead. Please. Hank skinner DNA and blood was found and the courts gave him his opportunity to prove he didn't kill them. Further testing showed his blood not just DNA in the bedroom where my friends were killed. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Anonymous said...

AMEN. But all tests should have been done in the very beginning. The crime scene was sloppily handled and evidence was lost. Why on earth would a district attorney not jump on the chance to have DNA evidence? The case is muddy due to a poorly run crime scene and storage of evidence.

Anonymous said...

Hank is a typical smooth talking sociopath. Probably barely remembers it, but dude is guilty as sin. Supreme court is not determing possible innocence, just trial procedure eg technicalities.

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