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Last updated 4:59AM ET
March 8, 2021
Alabama
Alabama
State Supreme Court Urged Not To Block Arthur Execution
(2008-07-25)
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Prosecutors urged the Alabama Supreme Court to deny Thomas Arthur's request for DNA testing of trial evidence for a 1982 murder, calling that a delaying tactic ahead of the inmate's planned execution.

Attorneys for the 66-year-old Arthur, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Thursday at Holman Prison, claim DNA testing could clear Arthur in the shooting death of Troy Wicker Jr. of Muscle Shoals.

State prosecutors, in a filing Thursday, said every court that has reviewed Arthur's case concluded that favorable DNA test results will not establish his innocence, pointing to other evidence that led to his conviction.

Granting his DNA request would also open the door to other claims aimed at delaying his execution, Assistant Attorney General Jasper B. Roberts Jr. told the court.

But Arthur's pro-bono attorney, Suhana Han of New York, said in a court filing that DNA tests are crucial.

"Without the benefit of DNA testing here, the state of Alabama assumes the intolerable risk of executing an innocent man," she argued.

The Innocence Project, an international organization that specializes in DNA exonerations, has supported Arthur's DNA request. Gov. Bob Riley has refused to order DNA testing in Arthur's case.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday denied a request to delay the execution for DNA testing, which prosecutors say Arthur could have sought in 2004 under a civil rights action. They said he delayed the request until last year when his execution neared.

Arthur came within a day of execution last year when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay on Dec. 5, but later declined to hear the appeal. That appeal challenged Alabama's use of lethal injection.

Arthur, who maintains his innocence, was tried three times for the Wicker killing, with the first two convictions being overturned on technicalities.

Judy Wicker initially told police a burglar had raped her and killed Wicker, but later recanted, saying she had sex with Arthur and paid him $10,000 to kill her husband. Prosecutors alleged that Arthur, a work-release inmate at the time, fatally shot Wicker while he slept so Judy Wicker could get $90,000 in life insurance.

Judy Wicker was given a life sentence for her part in the crime and paroled after 10 years behind bars.

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