Monday, April 26, 2010

In Search of 54: Odell Barnes

Other than the distinct possibility he was executed for a crime he did not commit, Odell Barnes was not a sympathetic figure. He was a crack addict and admitted to stealing to support his habit. He racked up nine felony convictions by the time he was 21 years old. In one case he broke into a home, hit the female resident over the head with an iron, threatened her with a gun, threatened to kill the daughter, sexually assaulted her, robbed her, and stole her car.

The murder for which he was executed ...

Hank Skinner Watch

We're waiting to see how the Supreme Court rules on Hank Skinner's request for a writ of certiorari. I wrote about that in Good Morning, Hank Skinner. That was on March 25, the day after his last minute reprieve. While others were saying the Supreme Court might decide within a few days, I predicted it would be a month or so. Turns out I was right. I have no great insight into the Supreme Court. I simply figure that no government body anywhere can act more quickly than Texas does when goes for a death warrant, and that requires at least a month.

Word was out that the Supremes would come down with their decision last Monday, on the 19th. On that day, they announced that Texas could go ahead an execute Charles Dean Hood and Duane Buck, and gave adverse rulings in the capital murder cases of Ruben Cardenas and Delma Banks. Regarding Hank Skinner, they said "Maybe next Monday, the 26th." 

Today (perhaps last Friday), the Supremes announced that Texas could go ahead and execute Peter Cantu. Regarding Hank Skinner, they said "Maybe next Monday, May 3."

And so we will wait.

I have peeked at the cases of the other four. With respect to Charles Dean Hood and Duane Buck, they would not get through the coarse filter I'm using in my search for the 54 innocent people who have been executed by Texas. With respect to Ruben Cardenas, I can find almost no information on him.

With respect to Delma Banks .....

Uh oh! That one doesn't look good. Not good at all. It has all the makings of a wrongful conviction, at least at first glance. I'll have to get back to you on that one.