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.
Photo Credit: jason braun