the texas court of criminal appeals on monday halted the execution of an inmate on death row. his lawyers argued he was sentenced based on false testimony from major witnesses. the court stayed the november 3 execution of julius murphy without elaborating on its decision.
murphy, 36, was convicted in 1988 of fatally shooting jason erie in the head during a 1997 robbery. lawyers for murphy asked the court in september to put the execution on hold. they said they have new evidence which shows prosecutors coerced dishonest testimony.
"mr. murphy's conviction and death sentence were procured through prosecutorial misconduct," said catherine stetson, a lawyer for murphy. the office of the texas attorney general was not immediately available for comment. it previously said murphy was properly convicted.
murphy's lawyers said prosecutors relied heavily on the testimony of two witnesses, christina davis and javarrow young. the lawyers said they had sworn statements which show both witnesses were unduly coerced into testimony - and lied about the evidence.
in his new statement, young said one of murphy's co-defendants was the actual shooter. murphy's lawyers said young was threatened with a murder charge if he did not testify against their client. they also said davis was threatened with a conspiracy to commit murder charge if she did not testify.
lawyers for murphy have tried unsuccessfully to halt the execution by arguing he was mentally disabled, and putting him to death would be unlawful. since the u.s. supreme court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, texas has executed 529 inmates - the most of any state in the nation.
in recent years, texas has instituted various reforms in the judicial process. although some activists believe these measures are woefully inadequate, the initiatives are designed to increase funding for public defenders, and provide greater oversight of prosecutors.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.