Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Governor asked to stop execution next week

Let's see if our Governor has a set, or will he bow to pressure. What does a little hit on the side have to do with a murder. Nothing I think, unless you are a Lib/ACLU wanker.

HOUSTON — Twenty-two former judges and prosecutors on Wednesday asked Gov. Rick Perry to stop next week's scheduled execution because an important hearing in the condemned inmate's case is scheduled for two days after the lethal injection.

State District Judge Robert Dry in Collin County has set a Sept. 12 hearing on the request from attorneys for convicted killer Charles Dean Hood for arguments on whether a former judge and district attorney were in an unethical romantic relationship during Hood's trial. Hood's set to die Sept. 10 for the slayings of a topless club dancer and her boyfriend.

Perry has the authority to block executions with a one-time 30-day reprieve for condemned prisoners.

There was no immediate response from the governor's office. Perry on Wednesday was in East Texas, visiting Hurricane Gustav evacuees preparing to return home.

Hood's lawyers contend the alleged secret relationship between now retired Judge Verla Sue Holland, who presided over Hood's capital murder trial in 1990, and the prosecutor, former Collin County District Attorney Tom O'Connell, tainted the trial.

Holland, who in the mid-1990s served as a judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and O'Connell, now in private practice, have declined to address the allegations.

"It is an irrevocable wrong to send a man to his death without ever hearing this critical evidence," the group of former judges and prosecutors said in a letter to Perry.

Among the 22 signers are William Sessions, a former FBI director and federal judge in Texas; John Gibbons, former chief judge of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Kenneth Mighell, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas; and J. Joseph Curran, former attorney general of Maryland.

"We write because our long experience as jurists and law enforcement officials leads us to believe that justice cannot be served unless the courts are able to consider whether Mr. Hood's conviction and sentence are invalid," their letter said. "In our view, it is inexplicable that the court hearing to consider this vital matter is scheduled for two days after Mr. Hood is scheduled to be executed."

Hood was scheduled to die June 17 but his lethal injection, which had cleared numerous lengthy last-day appeals to the courts, was aborted by state prison officials after they ran out of time to carry out the execution by midnight.

Hood, 39, is a former topless-club bouncer who was 20 when he was arrested in Indiana for the fatal shootings of Tracie Lynn Wallace, 26, an ex-dancer at the club, and her boyfriend, Ronald Williamson, 46, at Williamson's home in Plano in 1989.

Hood, who has maintained his innocence, was driving Williamson's $70,000 Cadillac at the time of his arrest. Fingerprint evidence tied him to the murder scene. Hood contended his prints were at Williamson's home because he was living there.

Evidence also tied Hood, who had served two years in an Indiana prison for passing bad checks, to the rape of a 15-year-old girl.

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