Tennessee death row inmate Oscar Smith to be executed despite new DNA evidence

Tennessee death row inmate Oscar Smith to be executed despite new DNA evidence
DNA and a fingerprint belonging to an unidentified person has been found on one of the murder weapons, according to Oscar Smith’s attorneys

An inmate on death row i Tennessee is just hours away from being executed after the governor refused to step in despite new DNA evidence raising doubts over the man’s guilt.

Oscar Smith, 72, will be put to death by lethal injection on Thursday over the triple murders of his estranged wife Judith Smith and her two teenage sons Jason and Chad Burnett back in 1989.

For more than 30 år, Smith has maintained his innocence.

With his execution date looming, he has been fighting to reopen his case after advances in technology found DNA and a fingerprint belonging to an unidentified person on one of the murder weapons.

Following the discovery of the new evidence, his attorneys filed an appeal earlier this month asking the Davidson County Criminal Court to reopen his case saying that the DNA proves Smith is not the killer.

The county court refused and the case went to the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals, which also refused to reopen the case and to carry out a review of the DNA analysis.

Smith’s attorneys then asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to hear his appeal.

Men, på mandag, the highest court in the state also refused to step in.

Neste dag, Governor Bill Lee announced he would not intervene in the case and grant Smith clemency.

“After thorough consideration of Oscar Smith’s request for clemency and an extensive review of the case, the State of Tennessee’s sentence will stand, and I will not be intervening,” he said in a one-line statement.

With the governor and the state’s highest court refusing to intervene, Smith has exhausted his legal options, paving the way for him to now become the first person executed in the state since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

På 1 oktober 1989, Ms Smith, 13-year-old Jason and 16-year-old Chad were brutally murdered in their home in Nashville.

Ms Smith was shot in the neck and stabbed multiple times, while Jason was stabbed in the neck and abdomen and Chad was shot in the eye, upper chest and torso.

Smith, hvem var 40 at the time and had three-year-old twins with Ms Smith, was arrested and charged with their murders.

He denied being responsible for their deaths and said he did not know who had carried out the attack.

But witnesses said that he had made previous threats to kill his estranged wife in the lead-up to the slayings.

På hans 1990 rettssaken, he was found guilty of their murders and was sentenced to death.

He is the oldest person currently on death row in the state which has had a two-year hiatus from executions during the pandemic.

The last person put to death in Tennessee was serial killer Nicholas Sutton who was executed by electric chair in February 2020.

The Independent og den ideelle organisasjonen Ansvarlig næringslivsinitiativ for rettferdighet (RIJ) have launched a joint campaign calling for an end to the death penalty in the US. RBIJ har tiltrukket seg mer enn 150 kjente underskrivere til deres forretningsleders erklæring mot dødsstraff – med The Independent som den siste på listen. Vi slutter oss til høyprofilerte ledere som Ariana Huffington, Facebooks Sheryl Sandberg, og Virgin Group-grunnlegger Sir Richard Branson som en del av dette initiativet og gir et løfte om å fremheve urettferdighetene ved dødsstraff i vår dekning.

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