Sam Millsap once was the District Attorney for Bexar County, Texas. Bexar County, for reference, includes the city of San Antonio. In the March 9, 2010 edition of the Houston Chronicle, Millsap makes his case that the DNA evidence in the Hank Skinner case should be tested prior to Skinner's execution.
We have been trying to make that case for quite a while now. Millsap's experience, however, gives him a unique perspective on the execution of persons possibly innocent. Consider this segment from the article.
Several years ago, this newspaper argued persuasively that Ruben Cantu, a defendant I prosecuted who was put to death in 1993, may well have been innocent. Twenty years after Cantu's trial, my star witness recanted his trial testimony. Many people consider his recantation credible because he had nothing to gain by reversing his position except a whole lot of trouble.
That case brought home to me, in a way that nothing else could have, that the system we trust to determine who may live and who must die simply doesn't work in all cases. Other investigative stories have revealed that Texans Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in 1989, and Cameron Todd Willingham, executed in 2004, were almost certainly innocent.
Now if we can get a few innocence projects to join the call, maybe many will follow. And maybe then Governor Perry will see the wisdom in testing the DNA before executing Hank Skinner.