update march 26 source : http://www.care2.com
Thomas Arthur is a death row prisoner in Alabama who could be exonerated by a DNA test, but the courts are preventing this from happening. Another man has already confessed to the crime. Why is this happening?
The death penalty is immoral. No one has the right to intentionally take someone else’s life. And America’s death penalty system is broken.
30 Years On Death Row
Thomas Arthur was sentenced to death for the murder of Troy Wicker in 1982, so he’s been on death row for 30 years. He has always maintained his innocence, and another man has confessed to the crime. So why are the Alabama courts refusing to allow post-conviction DNA testing in this case?
Three times Alabama tried Arthur for murdering Troy Wicker on February 1, 1982. Three times the state got a conviction and death penalty against him. Three times there were problems at trial.
Arthur was set to be executed on March 29, 2012, but received a stay-of-execution related to his claim that it is cruel and unusual punishment for the state to use a new sedative called pentobarbital as part of the lethal injection.
Victim’s Wife Was Lying
Alabama seems to have based its entire case against Arthur upon the testimony of Judy Wicker, Troy’s wife, who said at the time of the murder that she had been raped by a stranger. Over and over again state investigators asked her if Thomas Arthur was involved in the crime. And over and over again she said no.
From The Atlantic:
What happened was that Judy Wicker was lying. Turns out she had hired someone to murder her husband — and got caught doing so! Several months after her husband’s death, Wicker was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. A few years later, however, she cut a deal with prosecutors. In exchange for a recommended early release from prison, she would change her testimony and accuse Arthur of the crime. And that’s what happened. Wicker’s testimony secured Arthur’s third and final conviction. And this time, for over 20 years now, all of the state and federal courts that have reviewed the case have endorsed that result.
Were this all to the story it would be bad enough. But in 2008 things got worse. A man named Bobby Ray Gilbert confessed under oath to murdering Troy Wicker. In a sworn affidavit, Gilbert said he started an affair with Judy Wicker after they met at a bar and soon agreed that he would kill Troy Wicker, whom Judy Wicker claimed was an “abusive” husband. They agreed, Gilbert said decades later on paper, that he would wear an “Afro wig” and dark make-up as a disguise. After he shot Troy Wicker, Gilbert wrote, he and Judy Wicker had unprotected sex, after which she asked Gilbert to “beat her up” so it would look like rape.
Thomas Arthur Must Be Exonerated
Thomas Arthur appears to be innocent. In fact, both the prosecution and defense agree they have evidence worn by the perpetrator of the crime, and Arthur’s lawyers want that evidence retested with advanced DNA technology.
The defense has offered to pay for the testing, and Alabama should allow it.
If you think this case is outrageous, sign our petition telling Governor Bentley of Alabama to allow the DNA testing that could save Arthur’s life.
Update march 23 source http://blog.al.com
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday postponed the execution of Thomas Douglas Arthur until further action of the court.
Earlier in the week the court had reversed a judge’s decision to dismiss Arthur’s appeal, which contended that Alabama’s decision to use a new sedative called pentobarbital as part of a three-drug execution combination could be cruel and unusual punishment.
Arthur’s attorneys on Thursday had sought a stay while the state asks the entire 11th Circuit to reconsider the court’s decision.
Arthur was set to be executed on March 29 for the 1982 murder-for-hire killing of Muscle Shoals businessman Troy Wicker.
update march 21 : source
ATLANTA — A federal appeals court has revived an Alabama death row inmate’s challenge of his state’s new three-drug lethal injection protocol.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a judge’s decision that dismissed Thomas Arthur’s appeal.
Arthur is set to be executed on March 29 for the 1982 murder-for-hire killing of Muscle Shoals businessman Troy Wicker. It is unclear whether Wednesday’s decision will postpone his execution.
His attorneys claimed that Alabama’s decision to use a new sedative called pentobarbital as part of its three-drug execution combination could be cruel and unusual punishment. State attorneys pointed to successful executions where pentobarbital was used.
The three-judge panel’s decision said the judge who dismissed Arthur’s appeal should have considered whether the swap constituted a “significant change” to Alabama’s execution protocol.
update march, 13, 2012 source : http://www.timesdaily.com/
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A lawyer for death-row inmate Tommy Arthur says she wants a chance to argue in court that the procedure the state plans to use this month to execute her client may be unconstitutional.
An April 2011 change in Alabama’s execution procedure is at issue in the case, The TimesDaily of Florence reports (http://bit.ly/wu60LY ).
The change involved a switch in the first of three drugs administered during lethal injections. The state switched to the drug pentobarbital in 2011, when supplies for sodium thiopental ran low.
Arthur’s lawyer, Suhana Han, argued in federal appeals court this week that the change in procedure might result in an inmate suffering cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The second injection in the trio causes paralysis, so even if an inmate were still conscious, they may not be able to communicate that they can feel pain, Han said.
Arthur’s lawyer, Suhana Han, argued in federal appeals court this week that the change in procedure might result in an inmate suffering cruel and unusual punishment, and should have been significant enough to trigger an appeals process.
The change should have been significant enough to trigger an appeals process, she maintains.
Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw argued Monday that the switch in drugs was not a significant change to the state’s lethal injection procedure and that safeguards are taken to ensure an inmate is unconscious.
Those safeguards include saying his name, waving a hand close to his eyes and pinching him, Crenshaw said.
Crenshaw said he expects the three-judge panel to make a decision later in the week or early next week.
Arthur was sentenced to death for the Feb. 1, 1982, contract killing and robbery of Troy Wicker Jr. in Muscle Shoals. He is scheduled to die March 29.
Man on Alabama death row makes appeal for new DNA test
Lawyers for a convicted murderer who has spent the last 30 years on Alabama’s death row and is due to be executed on March 29 are asking for a new DNA test to prove his innocence.
Thomas Douglas “Tommy” Arthur, 70, has spent nearly half his life on death row for his role in the 1982 contract killing of Muscle Shoals businessman Troy Wicker Jr. Arthur’s lawyers say no physical evidence linked him to the crime. “We do believe that reasonable doubt exists here, and advanced DNA testing could resolve any doubt,” Arthur’s lead attorney, Suhana Han, said in an email statement.
The state plans to go ahead with the lethal injection barring a last-minute reprieve by the courts. Arthur’s argument for the testing is based on testimony already found by a court to be untrue and has no bearing on the death row inmate’s pending execution, said Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw.
Case from Arthur’s website
The following is not provided by the Innocence Project. Information is based on facts from case documents.
1. Thomas Arthur has sat on Alabama’s death row for over 25 years for the murder of Troy Wicker. He has always maintained his innocence.
2. He has been scheduled for execution 4 times. Hair and finger prints found at the crime scene did not match him. No physical evidence linked him to the murder. No murder weapon was ever found. Eye witnesses said he was 75 miles away when the murder was committed. Recent DNA testing in 2009 of the crime scene evidence came back negative for Thomas Arthur. See DNA Test Results
Thomas Arthur’s DNA Was Not Present On Crime Scene Evidence
3. The state’s key witness, the victims wife, Judy Wicker (Mary Turner now) was convicted of murdering her husband for $90,000.00 of insurance money. She was given a life sentence. In her first 7 sworn statements while under oath, Judy Wicker testified Thomas Arthur had nothing to do with the murder.
4. Judy and her sister Theresa were both found at the crime scene with blood on their clothes. Neither woman were tested for GSR (Gun Shot Residue) to see if they had fired a weapon. The bloody clothes have never been DNA tested to see if Troy Wicker’s blood was on them.
5. After serving 10 years in prison Judy Wicker was released from prison in exchange for a new testimony to say Thomas Arthur killed her husband. She also changed her testimony to say it was Thomas Arthur that beat her up and killed her husband. In the original interviews, Judy Wicker now stated Thomas Arthur had sex with her
after killing her husband. This version changed after the interviews and police never charged Thomas Arthur with rape. Originally Judy has said a black man beat her up and raped her. Judy Wickers statements disappeared from the records along with much of the physical evidence including the rape kit.
6. Investigators ignored key evidence and did not disclose key evidence that could of proven Thomas Arthurs innocence. This conviction was based on very weak circumstantial evidence and the key witness is a convicted murderer and has committed perjury.
7. Thomas Arthur has never had his 1st habeas corpus review.
8. Thomas Arthur’s most recent execution scheduled for July 31, 2008 was stayed by the Alabama Supreme Court after the stay had already been denied by the Alabama Supreme Court. Another man, Bobby Ray Gilbert said that he committed the murder not Thomas Arthur. Read Confession
The July 31st, 2008 execution was stayed based on the confession of Bobby Ray Gilbert. A hearing was scheduled
for April 15th, 2009 in Jefferson County Circuit Court before Judge Theresa Pulliam. After hearing testimony from Bobby Ray Gilbert and several others, Judge Pulliam ordered DNA testing on 3 pieces of physical evidence that was collected at the crime scene in 1982. The three pieces of evidence were clothing worn by the victims wife, Judy Wicker, a wig prosecutors and Judy Wicker said Thomas Arthur wore before, during and after the murder, and a single strand of hair found at the crime scene on Judy Wickers shoe. Other key pieces of physical evidence were not available for testing, including a rape kit, because the State had lost them. On July 10th, 2009, DNA test results were turned over to Judge Pulliam.
See DNA Test Results
9. Judge Pulliam “sealed” the test results and prevented the defense from disclsoing results.
10. August 10, 2009, Judge Pulliam ruled Bobby Ray Gilbert lied and that DNA test results proved he was not at the crime scene and could not have committed the murder. She also ruled Thomas Arthur perpetrated fraud against the court and provided Bobby Ray Gilbert with information to aid in his confession. There was no evidence to prove Thomas Arthur provided information to Bobby Ray Gilbert. However, lets assume he did provide information to Gilbert. What would this prove? It would prove Thomas Arthur was attempting to prove his innocence in the only way he could, to have the DNA tested. The courts would not allow him to test the DNA evidence simply because of his claims of innocence. The United States Supreme Court has ruled DNA testing to prove your innocence is not a constitutional right.
11. The most crucial piece of evidence, the wig worn by the killer could not be DNA tested by Alabama’s Forensic Department becuase they lack the advanced equipment needed for the test. Arthur requested that the wig be tested by a more advanced lab at the defense’s expense. Pulliam denied the request.
12. April 15th, 2011, the State of Alabama files a motion to set a new execution date.
****Bobby Ray Gilbert’s DNA was not present at the crime scene.
Neither was Thomas Arthur’s.
****That is a fact that cannot be ignored.***
13. June 22nd, 2011 The Supreme Court of Alabama denied the State of Alabama’s Motion to set a new execution date. (click on “links to motions filed” tab on left of home page to see copy of order)
It makes one wonder, if DNA test results prove one man was not at the crime scene and is lying about committing this murder, then how is it possible those same DNA test results cannot confirm Thomas Arthur was not at the crime scene? How can the same DNA test results say one man was not there and then say the other man was there? DNA test results were the same for both men… negative.
See all the Evidence Collected By The State of Alabama
The same day as the confession and the stay of execution the state of Alabama’s attorney general, Troy King and Clay Crenshaw claimed a rape kit and other physical evidence collected at the crime scene in 1982 is missing. After all these years of Thomas Arthurs defense team trying to obtain it, it is now missing. Troy King also stated to the media the DNA would not have matched Thomas Arthur anyway. King said Arthur had planted all the DNA evidence. This stunned legal professionals especially since DNA testing was not around in 1982 when the murder was committed.
The Innocence Project based in New York is involved in Thomas Arthurs case. They are assisting Thomas Arthurs attorneys and have written numerous letters and filed several motions on Arthurs behalf. Click on the Innocence Project link for more information. There are many prominent organizations that have requested additional DNA testing in Arthur’s case. The Innocence Project in New York, Amnesty International, The Saint ‘Egidio Community, The Justice Institute, for the wrongfully convicted, DER/SPIEGEL, former Governor Jim Petro, Alabama Senator Hank Sanders, Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, Sister Helen Prejean. There are many other organizations involved in demanding additional DNA testing in Arthur’s case. Project Hope to Abolish the death penalty, National Coalition to Abolish the death penalty, Florida support groups, The Patrick Crusade, are among the many organizations that have been involved. There are many individuals who are helping on a personal level. There are to many to name them all. Literally tens of thousands of United States Citizens, and people around the World have written or called on Arthur’s behalf.
|This page has the basic history of Thomas Arthur’s case. This case is very complex and has many files.The murder of Troy Wicker occurred February 01, 1982. Thomas Arthur has been convicted in 3 separate trials. Most assume that if he has had three trials, he must be guilty if he was convicted three times. The attorneys appointed to represent him at all three trials had never tried a capital murder case before and were subjected to a $1,000.00 cap on fees paid to them by the State of Alabama. Recent Article Thomas Arthur even produced documents showing that his attorney’s had told him they were not prepared or qualified to defend him. He also showed he was not able to communicate with them. Several jury members have since made statements that if they had been allowed to view all of the evidence, they would not have found him guilty. By the time he found a law firm to represent him pro-bono, (2001) , based in New York, they, with a private investigator found many new pieces of new evidence. However, because Arthur had no attorney during his post-conviction appeals,(Alabama is the only State in United States that does not provide a death row inmate an attorney during this post-conviction appeal process) his rule 32 was filed late. Therefore, none of the new evidence has ever been allowed to be shown to a Court of Law.Thomas Arthur, Alabama death row inmateZ-427 has sat on death row for over 20 years. He has been denied DNA testing of crime scene evidence, and his claim of innocence, nor any of the irregularities related to the investigation of the murder, has EVER been considered by a state or federal habeas court for how they affected his constitutional right to due process, a fair trial, effective assistance of counsel. the State of Alabama states he has “exhausted all of his appeals”. When in fact he has never had any of his post-conviction appeals heard by any court.We have added an additional page for the media (click on the link to motions filed) to find all the past and current motions filed. If you have questions or request more file information, go to the contact us page and contact Sherrie Stone for any media information or call Arthur’s Attorneys SuHana Han 212-558-4647 or Jordan Razza 212-558-3496 for legal issues.
The following is the background information :
|The following are “facts” in Thomas Arthur’s Case:DNA Evidence that includes blood, hair and semen was recovered and still exists, but it has never been tested!!! Yet the State of Alabama not only REFUSES to DNA test the crime scene evidence—but it is refusing to allow Arthur to have the evidence DNA tested at HIS EXPENSE!!!
DNA Evidence that includes an untested rape kit, bloody shirts, and hair has never been tested. The State of Alabama has denied Thomas Arthur the right to evidence that could conclusively prove Thomas Arthur’s innocence and that Thomas Arthur was never at the crime scene. Because of an act called the AEDPA act, Read the ADEPA Act , this evidence is not being allowed because it is based on a 1 year time limit on filing your petition within a year. Very hard for a death row prisoner to file this if they have no attorney. Arthur had no attorney. The State of Alabama is the only State that does not guarantee a Death Row Inmate the right to an attorney during the post conviction appeals.
No physical evidence links him to the crime. His conviction was based almost exclusively on the testimony of a convicted murderer. Although DNA testing was not available when the crime was committed, hair and fingerprints found at the scene of the crime did not match Thomas Arthur. See all the Evidence Collected By The State of Alabama
Two eyewitness gave statements (exculpatory affidavits) placing Thomas Arthur 75 miles away at the time of the crime. These eyewitnesses were visited by the State of Alabama and under suspicious circumstances changed their statements. However, one of the witnesses changed his story back to the original story, then recently was visited by the State and changed his story again under very “pressured circumstances”. The other witness has made statements that he is frightened of losing his business and “other” things. The first time these witnesses gave their statements, they came forward on their own, under no pressure. See Witnesses 1st Statements See Witnesses 2nd Statement After State Visited Them You can view additional statements made by the attorney and private investigator that were present during the first statements made by the witnesses. See Attorney And Investigator Statements
The victim’s wife Judy Wicker was charged with the murder and originally stated under oath Thomas Arthur was not the murderer, but she did name two other people that assisted her with committing the murder. Judy wicker stated she had paid her sister , Theresa Rowling $6000.00 and Theresa’s boyfriend Theron McKinney had received a Trans Am. Theresa had cashed a check in the amount of $6,000.00 from Judy. They were never charged with a crime, regardless of Theresa being found at the crime scene with her sister Judy and both had blood on their clothes. Neither Judy or Theresa were tested to see if they fired the gun that killed Troy Wicker. Numerous Law Enforcement Officials were on the scene with the equipment to perform such a test. See Writ of Certiorari With All Information A recent statement made by the Alabama Attorney General Troy King is “he was aware of an affair Judy Wicker was having with one of the police officers at the crime scene and the untested semen could belong to anyone”. He went on to state “Judy was known for her promiscuous behavior”. This could be why Judy or her sister Theresa were never tested to see if they fired the gun that killed Troy Wicker.
Judy Wicker never testified at Thomas Arthur’s 1st and 2nd trials. However, she did sign statements that he had nothing to do with the murder , and made numerous written statements(7 times) that Thomas Arthur was not the murderer. She did tell investigators Mays, and Aycock she paid her sister Theresa and Theresa’s boyfriend to help her with the murder. However, after serving 10 years in Tutwiler prison, she changed her testimony by force from the DA in exchange for freedom. She then stated that she had sex with Arthur and he then killed her husband . (There is a rape kit the State refuses to DNA test). After signing the statement, they did not release her. The State then told her she would have to wait and see if Thomas Arthur got a new trial and he did. The State lied to her and did not release her. They made her wait four more years. Then Judy Wicker was forced to testify at Thomas Arthur’s 3rd trial to say he was the murderer. She was released from prison in exchange for her testimony. The prosecutor during Arthur’s 3rd trial, when Judy Wicker changed her testimony in exchange for early parole, had represented Wicker as her defense attorney during her previous unsuccessful parole hearing. She also stated at first she was raped by an Intruder then he killed her husband. That was her statement 7 different times. The final statement, the one she gave in exchange for parole, she said Thomas Arthur had sex with her, then killed her husband. The untested rape/sex kit could be compared to the FBI data base to see if it matches someone else that could have murdered Troy Wicker. After the recent statement made by the Alabama Attorney General, Troy King, that untested kit could match the police officer at the crime scene with Judy Wicker that morning. It seems as if it would match anyone other than Thomas Arthur. If you click on the link , look at pgs 2,3,4 & 5 See Writ of Certiorari With All Information .
Alabama is the only State that does not provide death row inmates the right to an attorney during post-conviction petitions. Read Recent New York Times Article The inmates are supposed to have the right to a law library to research and file their own petitions. Thomas Arthur did not have an attorney and was given access to a “day” room with no law books. See Statement From Holman Prison Official He was told he could request the law books. By the time he found a voluntary attorney, his petition was denied for being filed late. Therefore he is denied his FIRST HABEAS CORPUS review. He has been turned down for the right to the reviews that will prove his innocence. He will be executed without receiving ANY State or Federal reviews.
The Holman Prisons Warden denied visitation by an investigator who was willing to try and ferret out the facts that would enable an lawyer interested in Arthur’s case to decide to represent him.
Holman Prison lacks a law library for death row prisoners or information about how to qualify for a state or federal post-conviction lawyer.
Thomas Arthur made many unsuccessful efforts to interest a pro bono lawyer in his case, including an article in Justice Denied (Aug-Sept. 1999) Read Article
Several jury members have made statements that if they had seen all of the evidence, they would not have found him guilty.
The victim, Troy Wicker’s sister has signed an affidavit that she does not believe Thomas Arthur Killed her brother. She is asking that Governor Riley stay the execution until the crime scene evidence can be DNA tested . See Wickers Sister Statement.
- The State has made numerous statements that the DNA testing of the crime scene evidence would not prove Arthur’s innocence. The Innocence Project based in New York, is the Nations leading experts in DNA testing, and wrongful convictions have strongly disagreed. The Governor of Alabama’s legal advisors even requested Post-Conviction DNA testing information from the Innocence Project. See Letter From Innocence Project Now with a confession from a man that says he committed the murder, with the leading experts in DNA testing stating that DNA testing the evidence could prove Arthur’s innocence, and prove if the confession of the man that claims to have killed the victim, is in fact the killer. The State still insists on executing Arthur without allowing DNA testing at Arthur’s expense.
CLICK ON “LINKS TO MOTIONS FILED” TO THE LEFT TO SEE ALL
RECENT MOTIONS FILED & ALL FACTS IN CASE