A death row inmate set to die Thursday is pinning his final hopes on convincing people that his victim’s dying words never happened.
When police found La Shandra Charles bleeding from neck wounds in a west Houston filed in 1988, they claimed she whispered the name of her assailant, ‘Preston,’ before dying.
That evidence, along with the police assertion that the girl said her attacker lived nearby, were key bits of evidence in convicting Preston Hughes 11, a New York-born warehouse worker.
But Hughes attorney now says it would be medically impossible for the girl to tell police anything about her attacker and he’s got medical testimony to prove it, the Houston Chronicle reports.
‘It is simply not medically feasible that this young woman, particularly given the fact that one’s heart rate accelerates during stress, and thus blood loss occurs more rapidly, could have spoken to the officers as they claimed,’ wrote Dr. Robert White, Dr. Robert White, who was chief medical examiner in Nueces County before joining the Fort Worth forensics department.
Defense attorney Pat McCann said it would take roughly 13 minutes for police to reach Charles after she was injured, a time frame that does not allow her to be conscious by the time authorities found her with the wounds she sustained.
Assistant District Attorney Lynn Hardaway has brushed aside McCann’s argument: ‘That’s obviously this guy’s opinion.’
Hardaway further noted that in the original police report an unnamed medical technician is supposed to have heard the dying girl’s accusation.
But the technician never testified.
A state pardons board is to review Hughe’s request to have his sentence commuted Tuesday.
Hughes, 46, was convicted of the murders of both Charles and her cousin, Marcel Taylor, 3, who was also stabbed.
At the time of his arrest, Hughes was on probation for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, though he maintained innocence in that crime as well.
After his in the 1988 case, he offered two confessions to police but they contained contradictory statements.
In an interview at the time, he said the police didn’t type what he said.
He claimed that on the night of the murder he met with friends for drinks.
When he returned home he took his dog for a walk, crossing the field where the children were murdered.
He then went back to his apartment where he stayed until police knocked on his door.
‘I didn’t hear or see anything,’ he said. ‘I never killed anyone.
- TEXAS – A Death Row Struggle Between Advocates and Lawyers – Preston Hughes III (claimyourinnocence.wordpress.com)