Revenge Not Justice. From [HERE] and [HERE] A Black man was executed on Thursday for killing two sandwich shop employees during a robbery in 2002 after the Supreme Court denied a stay requests arguing that he was not the trigger man and his case was tainted by prosecutorial misconduct before an all white jury. Now three people have been murdered.
Terry Edwards, 43, died of lethal injection at 10:17 p.m. at the state's death chamber in Huntsville, said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark in a statement.
“Yes, I made peace with God. I hope y’all make peace with this," Edwards said before he was put to death, according to the statement released by Clark.
The execution was put on hold for about four hours as the Supreme Court considered several motions citing what lawyers for Edwards said were faults in previous legal proceedings. The court rejected those requests late on Thursday evening.
His defense attorneys have presented evidence that they say demonstrates a Dallas County prosecutor — who is known to have wrongfully convicted at least three other people — used fake science to convict Edwards and intentionally stacked the jury with white people. Edwards’ lawyers argue that those actions warrant an investigation by Dallas County’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). But this week, the CIU abruptly ceased communication with his defense team, foreclosing lawyers’ best shot to stop the execution.
Misconduct in murder cases is all too common in courtrooms across the country. Data collected by the National Registry of Exonerations shows that 75 percent of homicide exonerations in 2015 were secured because official misconduct was found by investigators, and unethical prosecutors are a big piece of the puzzle. Prosecutors routinely use forensic evidence that isn’t scientifically sound, withhold key evidence that proves or suggests innocence, remove or ban jurors of color, and coerce witnesses to testify against someone who is likely innocent. One — and possibly two — of these factors may have played into Edwards’ conviction: alleged forensic evidence and jury stacking by Dallas County prosecutor Thomas D’Amore.
But prosecutorial misconduct continues long after someone is convicted and sentenced to die — often at the expense of justice. Prosecutors typically exhaust all of their resources to keep a capital conviction on the books, through methods such as cutting off access to a department that’s specifically designed to investigate unfair trials. What makes Edwards’ case particularly troubling is that his attorneys had regular communication with the Dallas County District Attorney’s CIU before that open line of communication was cut off this week.
The execution was the 540th in Texas since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.
Edwards was convicted along with co-defendant Kirk Edwards, an older cousin, of the July 2002 murders of Dallas Subway sandwich shop employees Mickell Goodwin and Tommy Walker in a robbery.
Kirk Edwards has a projected release date of July 2027, Texas Department of Criminal Justice online records showed.
In an editorial posted online on Wednesday, the Dallas Morning News said the execution should be halted because there are too many unanswered questions in the case.
"These questions do not paint Terry Edwards as innocent. But they do raise uncertainties as to whether the jury was misled when it determined he had pulled the trigger and deserved to die, it said.
Lawyers for Texas have argued that new counsel for Edwards previously tried to halt the execution on similar grounds and that his conviction and sentencing were legal and proper.
John Mills, an attorney for Edwards, said he has evidence indicating that Edwards was not the gunman.
"Previous counsel has done virtually almost nothing to ensure that his case was investigated and that the powerful evidence undermining the reliability and the fairness of his conviction was brought to light," Mills said in an interview.
One of the main pieces of evidence was gunshot residue testing, which at trial was presented and used by prosecutors who said Terry Edwards fired the fatal shots.
In court papers, lawyers for the Terry Edwards said the gunshot residue evidence was improperly interpreted and actually show that Edwards was not the shooter.