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AL: Dueling affidavits on eve of Arthur execution
Wed Jul 30, 2008 14:51

Dueling affidavits on eve of Arthur execution
7/30/2008, 1:13 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — On the eve of Thomas Arthur's scheduled
execution, attorneys were in court with dueling affidavits — one from
a convicted murderer who claims he's guilty of the killing that sent
Arthur to death row, and another disputing that claim.

The legal crossfire came as the 66-year-old Arthur faces lethal
injection at 6 p.m. (CDT) Thursday at Holman Prison. Convicted of the
Feb. 1, 1982, killing of Troy Wicker Jr. of Muscle Shoals, Arthur has
twice come within a day of execution before winning court delays.

Arthur's attorneys, who claim DNA testing could exonerate Arthur,
sought a stay of execution from Gov. Bob Riley and the courts by
using an affidavit from convicted murderer Bobby Ray Gilbert, who is
serving a life sentence at St. Clair Correctional Facility.

In a sworn statement Monday to Arthur's attorneys, Gilbert claimed he
killed Wicker when he was 17. But Wicker's widow, Judy Wicker, who
served a prison sentence for hiring the killer, said in an affidavit
to the attorney general's investigators that she never met Gilbert.
She once again accused Arthur of the killing.

"None of Gilbert's allegations are true. I do not know anyone named
Bobby Gilbert," she said in a sworn statement Monday. "I hired and
paid money to Thomas Arthur, not Bobby Gilbert, to kill Troy Wicker."

Attorney General Troy King also dismissed Gilbert's statement and
recommended to Riley that the execution not be delayed.

Arthur's attorneys on Tuesday turned to the Jefferson County Circuit
Court, offering the Gilbert affidavit as new evidence in a bid for a
hearing. The court did not immediately rule. King's office urged the
court to dismiss it.

"The presentation of Gilbert's affidavit is yet another example of
Arthur presenting information that is fabricated and incredible,"
Assistant Attorney General Jasper Roberts told the court in a filing

Challenging Gilbert's credibility, Roberts noted that of the 23 years
Gilbert has been in prison, he has spent about 20 in administrative
segregation for violating prison rules and regulations. He said
Gilbert has convictions for two murders, an escape, an assault on
another inmate with the intent to commit murder.

In trial testimony, Judy Wicker said she paid Arthur $10,000 to kill
her husband in an insurance scheme. She served 10 years before her
early release from a life sentence.

The Alabama Supreme Court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
earlier denied Arthur's bid to delay the execution so that DNA
testing of evidence could be done. A final request for a stay from
the U.S. Supreme Court is expected by Thursday.

Prosecutors point out that every court that has reviewed Arthur's
case concluded that favorable DNA test results will not establish his
innocence. Arthur was tried three times for the Wicker killing, and
the first two convictions were overturned on technicalities.

The New York-based Innocence Project, an international organization
that specializes in DNA exonerations, also has supported Arthur's DNA

Arthur's execution would be the first in Alabama since the high
court, in April, upheld the use of lethal injection. All Rights Reserved.

  • Two days to execution in Alabama, still no DNA test For nearly 25 years, Tommy Arthur has sat on Alabama’s death row. His appeals have been repeatedly denied, and he... more
    • AL: Dueling affidavits on eve of Arthur execution — Petra, Wed Jul 30 14:51
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