29 November 2007
Governor Bob Riley
Dear Governor Riley,
This is my tenth letter to you. As yet, I haven’t received an answer from you, neither have, as far as I know, those who continue to write to you. I again invite you to answer me by email, if you should wish to do so. My offer remains open for you to either answer via email to email@example.com or to post your answer as a comment on my blog at www.justicefortommy.blogspot.com.
As the date set for Thomas Arthur’s execution nears, which I still deem to be more a show of power than anything else, I was disappointed to read the letter you recently wrote to his daughter, Sherrie Stone, on 31 October 2007(link). In the letter you again mention the “overwhelming evidence”, as quoted before, yet you still have to define this term to a number of people that have taken the explanation thereof up with you in recent months.
Again the question: “Have you weighed it up against what has transpired in recent years, with new evidence being discovered and have you weighed it up against possible exculpatory DNA evidence regarding untested crime scene evidence?”
1. Have you interviewed witnesses that have now recanted their testimonies?
2. Have you had a personal interview with Judy Wicker, whose testimony is and will remain in doubt?
3. Have you or your “staff”, being so “victim concerned” as you hold to be, interviewed the late Troy Wicker’s sister, who asked for DNA to be tested, so that she can have closure?
4. Have you questioned the fact that no items belonging to Judy Wicker or her sister, who were both found at the crime scene, have never been tested?
5. Have you interviewed the witnesses that placed Arthur miles away from the crime scene, as to why they recanted their affidavits, after “men with guns” from your “staff” visited them? Have you now given them an opportunity to give such affidavits without undue influence?
6. Have you questioned why a member of your “staff” mentioned that one of the officers at the crime scene had an affair with Judy Wicker and questioned whether this had bearing on the way the investigation was conducted?
7. Have you questioned why Judy Wicker only recanted her testimony after 10 years in prison and only after the prosecutor, who represented her before, “made a deal” with the Board of Paroles, resulting in her being freed, constituting a severe conflict of interest?
8. Have you questioned the fact that even the evidence found at the crime scene were doubtful, in that the bullet casings did not match, no weapon was found, no physical evidence pointed to Arthur, etc?
9. Have you investigated why witnesses now hold that they were coerced to lie in their testimony; “coerced” referring to the same tactic as the “men with guns” that visited new witnesses?
10. Have you ever questioned why the two “accomplices”, who Judy Wicker testifies to, were never questioned or charged?
And so the questions can pile up and one can spend the best of the day listing them here.
In your letter you mention that, “I and my staff have continued to review everything my office receives regarding your Father’s case”. Yet, you STILL have not answered the “overwhelming evidence” question, or ANY questions posed to you!!! Is this the “transparency” the Governor of Alabama likes to quote?
Analysts, scholars and laymen in your country and from all over the world, whether pro- or anti-death penalty, looked at Thomas Arthur’s case and came to a conclusion that, even at a first glance, something is wrong and that it warrants being looked into, to say the least. What makes them different from you and your staff? What are they seeing that you and our “staff” are not?
It is my view that the difference is merely that none of them has a political agenda. I cannot think of any other reason, can you?
Governor, the “overwhelming evidence” adage, in the face of so many “unanswered questions”, is really not cutting it and I think you are aware of it but choose to not admit it or do anything about it, otherwise you would, at least, have honored those who elected you and made sure the “everything” you mention in your letter would have been explained in a clear and concise way. In fact, why don’t you spell out what the “everything” is that you have reviewed and, whilst about it, list the “overwhelming evidence” you always quote? Or will this also, like your lethal injection protocol, remain an everlasting secret and never become “transparent”?
Governor, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa once said: “Secrecy and tax dollars don’t mix”. I pray the day comes when someone wakes up in Alabama and start asking how a Government that likes to quote the word “transparency” is spending their tax dollars in a “secret” environment. They will put two and two together and the rest, including the tenure of the “secret society” will be history.
Oh, what a joyful day it would be!
As always and in keeping with my quest and because my conscience demands it of me, I again end my letter by asking you, for the sake of decency, humanity, mercy and justice, to allow DNA testing to be done in Thomas Arthur’s case, to reveal to the citizens of Alabama the contents of the lethal injection protocol being used to execute condemned persons and to grant a stay for Thomas Arthur. Your Creator, who entrenches the right to life in Section 1 of your Constitution, demands it of you.
Dr. Thinus Coetzee PhD, D.C.Ed