DNA casts doubt on Texas man's execution

2010-11-12 13:31
Washington - A Texas man was condemned to death and executed in 2000 on the basis of hair that did not belong to him, according to the results of a DNA test released on Thursday.

A test by Mitotyping Technologies published by the Texas Observer magazine - which fought a three-year legal battle to gain access to the evidence - showed that Claude Howard Jones was "excluded as the contributor of this questioned hair".

Jones - who had a long criminal record - had insisted that he was waiting in the car when his accomplice killed Allen Hilzendager during a liquor store robbery.

He was convicted of the 1989 murder, and denied several appeals, largely on the basis of that single strand of hair which police found at the scene.

Forensic science was limited at the time to examining the hair under a microscope, where it appeared to belong to Jones.

The DNA test posted on the magazine's website found that the hair likely belonged instead to the victim.

Analysing hair under a microscope was later abandoned after it was deemed inconclusive and obsolete with the development of DNA testing.

Serious doubts

Jones requested a DNA test and a stay of execution until it could be performed, but he was denied by then-governor George W Bush.

Documents obtained by the Texas Observer and the Innocence Project showed that "attorneys in the governor's office failed to inform Bush that DNA evidence might exonerate Jones", the Observer wrote.

Bush, embroiled in the 2000 presidential election recount at the time of the execution, was a proponent of DNA testing in death penalty cases and had previously halted another execution so key evidence could be tested.

"Because the DNA testing doesn't implicate another shooter, the results don't prove Jones' innocence," the Texas Observer wrote.

"But the hair was the only piece of evidence that placed Jones at the crime scene. So while the results don't exonerate him, they raise serious doubts about his guilt."

A Texas judge is currently considering whether another man executed on the basis of out-dated forensic evidence was indeed innocent.

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for setting a 1991 fire that killed his three daughters. Experts have testified that the evidence used to prove the fire was arson was flawed.

Read more on:    us
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Africa
 

Hottie of the day: Charlotte

Meet our hottie of the day, Charlotte. She feels sexiest after a good workout at the gym!

 
 

Men24.com

This is why guys shouldn’t be in photos
BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike
Want to start talking dirty?
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime use...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.