October 8th, 2010
02:14 PM ET

Death row inmate asks for chance to prove innocence

Twila Busby and her two sons died horribly in their little cream-colored house. No one who has examined this case in the nearly 17 years since the triple murders will doubt that. But lingering questions of guilt and innocence, of changing alibis, and the fairness of a criminal trial have now captured the attention of the Supreme Court.

The justices will decide this week whether a convicted killer on Texas death row deserves another chance to prove he did not commit the crime.

"All the district attorney has got to do is turn over the evidence and test it, and let the chips fall where they may," Henry "Hank" Skinner told CNN in an exclusive death row interview. "If I'm innocent I go home. If I'm guilty I die. What's so hard about that?"

Members of the victims' family respond that their pain has only grown as this inmate, in their minds, continues to delay justice through endless appeals.


soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. janko

    If he can prove that he is innocent.why kill him

    October 8, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Supremo_Lagarto

      CNN seems to conveniently be leaving out way too much context in this case. (1) Skinner had a long history of felonies involving assault, including assault on police officers. (2) There was DNA testing done during his original trial and it ALL pointed to him. (3) His defense attorney actually struggled to have DNA testing suppressed because it made Skinner look even more guilty! Skinner is only asking for it now because he knows the police have messed up and lost a lot of the evidence. (4) Skinner had a cell phone smuggled into the prison that he carried in his rectum which he gave to a death row inmate in order threaten public officials! (5) Skinner is NOT colorblind! Never has been. He is claiming he was temporarily colorblind? Please.

      October 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. millard

    We need to first find out what type of evidence they have to prove this mans innocence

    October 9, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jim Brieske

    Publicly execute him tomorrow. Publicly execute all the deathrow inmates within a week. Let God sort it, not that it needs to be. Just saying he would.
    You are accomplices in murder by failing to publicly execute immediately. You would decrease the number of future murders by at least seventy five percent if you publicly executed immediately.
    This country is headed towards failure. If this country fails, then there is no point in Earth existing.
    Geography created the USA. God created and chose Earth. God chose us.

    October 9, 2010 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
    • JacklynD

      Execute him tomorrow? God will sort it out? I don't know it seems testing a person's DNA is the least we can do before ending their lives and letting God do our work for us.

      Jim Brieske, I urge you to turn off FOX News, stop going to the church in a garage in your neighborhood and travel around our great country. Really, get out of the house, take a deep breath and go talk to people.

      October 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      It sounds like Jim needs a reality check. He seems to be full of hate and emty of compassion. There has been lots of injustice that happen to the innocent. Lets See all the cards before we go rushing to the execution room.

      October 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jennifer

    I am more scared of the last message from Jim then the guy on death row... Jim what you just said is creepy.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. peter

    He can't prove his innocence because one, he's guilty, and two, they had the evidence to prove it. What good is it to demand dna testing on other items while ignoring the dna results and blood stain analysis evidence they do have? That evidence doesn't go away. It proves that he, and no one else, beat Twila to death and stabbed Elwin. I guess in theory his supporters could argue that another person came in and finished off Randy. If so, I would like to sell you a bridge. Anyway, it would make him no less guilty of capital murder. This is just one big defense farce.

    October 9, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      Peter, if you haven't researched this particular case, let me try to fill it in for you. 17 years ago, they did not have the ability to do the DNA testing needed to show if he is guilty or innocent. Today they do. So...rather you or anyone else doesn't agree...bottom line is that if the DA believes this man is guilty, then he would agree to have that DNA testing done to prove he himself was correct. By not allowing it, he is showing the rest of us that there is something this DA is trying to hide. If you look at it...and I mean the entire case...then you would see all of the holes that are punched in to this particular mans trial and appeals. Sorry, but I would not want to be the one to kill this man or any other inmate if there is any doubt at all that they are innocent. Again...you can't bring the dead back...ordering this test can only end the question one way or another. And he has not just now started asking for this...he has been asking for years. So, it isn't a "last minute" thing. I'm curious to see how this plays out.

      October 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      What was the evidence, and its great to see you can count to two.

      October 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • peter

      Terri: No, let me filll you in, since it is apparant that you know very little about the evidence, the procedural history, and you lack critical thinking skills. The defense is not asking for the retesting of items but for the testing of additional items. Again, you chose to ignore the dna testing and blood spatter analysis that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that it was skinner who beat Twila to death. No advances in dna testing will change it and no further testing of other items will make it go away. The DA and numerous courts who have reviewed the case extensively have upheld the convictions and found that that he has been afforded full due process. That you disagree is irrelevant.

      October 12, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jim Brieske

    jennifer. You are an idiot. Exactly the enabler type who next year will be an accomplice in hundreds of murders. Hope you enjoy it.
    You make me want to vomit. Get some comprehension skills or a higher I.Q.
    Geography does make us responsible for having to rule the world using democracy. If you have not noticed, I will point something out to you. There is no other country that has citizens from every other country. No one even close. Why is that?
    I will tell you why. We invited immigrants and still are allowing immigrants into our country to become Americans. Guess what?
    Thousands and thousands and thousands have endured all types of obstacles to get here.
    Now let's say China conquers us. Our president would like us to be communists anyways.
    Guess what? God will be angry. That is a fact.
    I don't care if you believe it or not. You can't even stomach killing someone who murdered people.
    Tell that to their victims.

    October 9, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke T.

      "Geography does make us responsible for having to rule the world using democracy."
      Actually, geography has nothing to do with it, but apparently you just like the word so much that you keep repeating it like a baby's first words. Good for you. In case you don't know, the us doesn't "rule" the world by even a long stretch. It's completely dependent of many other countries and groups of countries. If China were to dump it's entire reserve of us dollars they've been piling up during the last several decades, your entire nation would be broke and go for sale to the highest bidder who would still even want it, as it's useless by then. So don't forget, if there's one country who comes close to ruling the world, it's China, at least they've got the americans completely by the balls. They have a far more sophisticated and well equipped army on most categories, and they would outstrength anyone just by sheer numbers. And apart from China, there are many other countries which are much more influential in the world than the us, countries with massive natural reserves on which other countries depend (like oil from the Middle-east) as well as states who maintain steady diplomatic relations with every country in the world and help maintain relations between others (the Netherlands and Dubai). All the us does is make war, which does nothing for democracy except ruining it. Most European nations on the other hand do help maintain peace and democracy throughout the world by sending peacekeeping missions and goverment aid. This area is also solely dominated by the Netherlands, who have the broadest range of foreign military presence to help maintain peace throughout the world, as well as the largest amount of military personnel active abroad per capita.

      "If you have not noticed, I will point something out to you. There is no other country that has citizens from every other country. No one even close." WRONG, every country in the Western world has immigrants from every other country in the world, it called economic asylum seekers, people from poorer countries who want to get a better live and try to emigrate to richer countries. Many Western-European countries have much higher percentages of foreign immigrants than the us has, they are much more favorable destinations for refugees and immigrants because the Wester-European nations have much higher living standards than the us has, better healthcare (often provided for free) as well as much better social welfare(better pensions, health insurance coverage, disability and welfare payments, goverment subsidies, etc.), education systems, better healthcare and many other factors that make it higher living standards. And you still think that the us is the only one with immigrants from every country in the world? There is much less reason to go there compared to many other countries.

      "I will tell you why. We invited immigrants and still are allowing immigrants into our country to become Americans."
      That's how the country became america, people from all over the world immigrated to the us during the colonial days, hoping to start a new live or for different reasons, and it has continued up to this day. People immigrating from even poorer places because they want a better life, hoping to get it there.

      January 30, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jim Brieske

    Why would God allow this planet to exist after a democracy like United States of America failed? He wouldn't. It would be evil for this planet to be ruled over by anyone less than us.
    The Chinese or Russians running this planet? They have killed millions upon millions of their own citizens!
    We have oceans on both sides, neighbors to the north and south who are buffer zones. The only way we could be defeated is if mess up our money.
    We're buying oil from foreigners when should not be. Clinton passed NAFTA when he should not have. He then went on to sell us out to the Chinese. He stuck John Huang in the US Commerce Dept to do just that. They moved most of the manufacturing to China. Walmarts were built everywhere. Their distribution point. The Head of and Asst Head of the US Commerce Dept were murdered! They were about to tell of the scheme.
    Now we are borrowing our own money from China!! We're close to the brink of disaster.
    I say tear down the Walmarts, return the manufacturing from China. We start over.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cj

    You are the biggest idiot jim!!!!!!!

    October 9, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cj

    America failed?..........if you live in america then you have failed...you have had to contribute to its failure one way or another!!!

    October 9, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim Brieske

    cj. I'm not going to allow this country to fail. Even though our president is trying to destroy it.
    I'm just explaining why we are in our current condition and that we are the greatest country on this planet. God chose us to rule the world by establishing democracy and geography proves it. If you can create a planet, then you sure the heck can lay out the continents of a planet. Besides this concept of geography, ruling the world and establishing democracy it's named after a former president. I think it was Woodrow Wilson's idea. I might have the wrong president though.
    Anyways, we are going to be destroyed by a country that has a completely controlled population 5 times the size of ours unless we change course and cast China away.
    But first Iran.
    There's a reason why UFOs have not greeted us. There's a reason why UFOs have not attacked us.
    They are protecting us. They have been telling us something.
    I don't like nuclear weapons. Someone has told them to convey that.

    October 10, 2010 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jim Brieske

    Er...I'm and idiot.

    October 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mr. Giggles

    @Jim. When I first started reading your stellar contributions I was fairly certain that you were simply trolling. After reading the rest of your manifesto I am completely certain you are trolling this site. In the event you are actually sincere in your paranoia then it would make perfect sense that you believe in fairy tales like god and the bible. Get a life.

    October 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobMD

      Nah, just mental illness. They tend to hang out a lot on message boards because that's really the only way they can interact with people.

      October 11, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BobMD

    So this guy even admits he was "passed out on the couch" during the murders (uh-huh...), but he was spared for some reason, and his girlfriend's teenage daughter who was there and witnessed it all insists to this day that he did it? Well of course he's going to ask for a delay in the execution to do more "testing." He has nothing to lose.

    October 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mr. Giggles

    Bob I'm on the same page as you but this Jim character is a fruitcake.

    October 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. x cop

    Whats the big deal? Give him a DNA test. Any person should get every chance before he dies to prove himself one way or the other. Why waste the courts time when this could have been done and over by now. lawyers....what a disgrace to our country.

    October 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Supremo_Lagarto

      There is no evidence to prove he is innocent. However, Skinner knows the bungling police mishandled and lost most of the evidence in the years that he was incarcerated. He is counting on their incompetence to be brought to light in order for him to be freed without even looking at the evidence (which has now been corrupted and mishandled beyond all credibility). He is not the dumbest psychopath the system has produced by a long shot. He's obviously smarter the police who arrested him and if this pays off he will walk out.

      October 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • peter

      No, they didn't lose most of the evidence. In fact, I'm unaware that they lost any evidence. And all the evidence he is requesting be tested is in the DA's custody. Stop making crap up. And please don't come back with anymore of your bizarre conspiracy stories. I'm sane, therefore, I'm not interested.

      October 12, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • peter

      xcop: None of the testing he is demanding done will be exculpatory. I feel like I'm talking to brick walls. Read what I posted earlier. As far as over and done with, how's that dna testing in the Routier case going? Two years later and they just started it. It's because there are legal fights every step of the way.

      October 12, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |