Thursday, January 12, 2006
Take it with a grain of salt the next time someone goes to the chair still claiming his innocence.
RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- New DNA tests confirmed the guilt of a man who went to his death in Virginia's electric chair in 1992 proclaiming his innocence, the governor said Thursday.
The case had been closely watched by both sides in the death penalty debate because no executed convict in the
has ever been exonerated by scientific testing. United States
The tests, ordered by the governor last month, prove Roger Keith Coleman was guilty of the 1981 murder of his sister-in-law, Gov. Mark R. Warner said.
Coleman was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of 19-year-old Wanda McCoy, who was found raped, stabbed and nearly beheaded in her home in the coal mining town of
A finding of innocence would have been explosive news and could have had a powerful effect on the public's attitude toward capital punishment. Death penalty opponents have been warning for years that the risk of a grave and irreversible mistake by the criminal justice system is too great to allow capital punishment.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not in favor of executing the innocent. But when there is a mountain of evidence supporting the conviction, my apologizes if I'm not just a little bit skeptical if the murderer is still claiming he's innocent. Tookie Williams immediately comes to mind.