Death Row Inmate Argues His Innocence
Prosecutors are disputing the innocence claims 66-year-old of Donnis George Musgrove, a prisoner who's trying to become the latest inmate freed from Alabama's death row. The state attorney general's office asked a federal judge yesterday to reject Musgrove's appeal while he contends he's innocent of a 1986 killing and has wrongly spent nearly 30 years on death row.
According to the Associated Press, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tommy Nail supports Musgrove, saying he believes Musgrove and his co-defendant David Rogers were wrongly convicted of capital murder in 1988 in the gunshot killing of Coy Eugene Barron on September 27, 1986. Both men were sentenced to death.
Ironically, Judge Nails says the same judge, prosecutor, and forensic expert were involved in the cases against Musgrove, Rogers, and Anthony Ray Hinton, another Alabama death row inmate, who was recently released after serving 30 years. Hinton was convicted of murdering two fast food restaurant managers in separate robberies in 1985. The only evidence linking him to the crimes, according to the Marshall Project, were bullets said to have matched a .38 revolver recovered from Hinton's home. No fingerprints nor eyewitnesses, AND Hinton was at work at the time of the killings. Yet, he was sent to death row. After experts from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences determined that the bullets from the robberies didn't match each other and could not be linked to the supposed murder weapon, Hinton was released.
Similarly, prosecutors said a 9 mm shell casing found at the scene of Barron's slaying was linked to a pistol Musgrove used in an assault three months earlier,but according to his attorney's, later testing showed that the shell casing at the murder scene was planted and not linked to the crime at all. Musgrove is asking a federal judge to overturn his case while his co-defendant died in prison.
If a forensics review finds that Musgrove isn't responsible for the death of which he was convicted, it goes without saying that other cases may need to be revisited. They may not be able to get back all the time they served, but if found innocent, they could enjoy the time they have left in the free world.