Thursday, January 5, 2006

MedPol: the execution of the innocent?

With less than two weeks left in Gov. Mark R. Warner's term, time is running out for him to arrange DNA testing that could determine whether Virginia sent an innocent man to the electric chair in 1992.
As Warner is my preliminary choice for the 2008 Dem presidential candidate, this could be some super publicity for a guy who already has a strange relationship with the death penalty, given that Virginia has some pretty overzealous death penalty administration.

Apparently DNA testing at the time was sketchy for reasons the article doesn't particularly illuminate. But it was 1992. And I wasn't exactly familiar with DNA testing in 1992. So who knows.

But at least a handful of folk think this dude was innocent:
Coleman was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of 19-year-old Wanda McCoy, his wife's sister, who was found raped, stabbed and nearly beheaded in her home in the coal mining town of Grundy.

The case drew international attention as the well-spoken Coleman pleaded his case on talk shows and in magazines and newspapers. Time magazine featured the coal miner on its cover. Pope John Paul II tried to block the execution. Then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder's office was flooded with thousands of calls and letters of protest from around the world.

Coleman's attorneys argued that he did not have time to commit the crime, that tests showed semen from two men was found inside McCoy and that another man bragged about murdering her. Coleman was executed on May 20, 1992.

"An innocent man is going to be murdered tonight," the 33-year-old said moments before he was electrocuted. "When my innocence is proven, I hope America will realize the injustice of the death penalty as all other civilized countries have."
Let's hope so.

No comments: