Waiting on the Supreme Court: Will Justices Give Death Row's Terry Edwards More Time?

Now we wait. Today is likely going to be a long one for Terry Edwards, a former student at James Madison High School in southern Dallas who will find out sometime today whether the Supreme Court of the United States will stay his execution, planned for sometime tonight after 6 p.m.Edwards was convicted of two counts of murder in 2003, after a jury quickly determined he was guilty in a robbery of the Subway in Balch Springs the previous year. He was sentenced to die. His cousin, Kirk Edwards, was also accused of the murders — but after Edwards' conviction, he was allowed to plead guilty to aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, with the possibility of parole. Longer still, perhaps, will the day be for the surviving family members of the two victims in the 2002 killings — Tommy Walker, 34, and Mickell Goodwin, 26. Walker, the store manager, had been well-liked by customers and easily remembered for his habit of dying his hair for special occasions. His mother said that shortly before he was killed, he had dyed his hair red, white and blue for the July 4 holiday. Goodwin's father said at the time of Edwards' sentencing that her murder had left behind two daughters, ages 7 and 8, without their mother."You don't ever get over it. We could live 20 more years, and we won't get over it," the father, Harvey Mangham, said.The reason the case is before the Supreme Court is because Edwards and his attorneys have exhausted their other avenues of appeal — as motions to stop the execution or to appeal his sentence have been rejected by the top Texas courts, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and Dallas County district Judge Tammy Kemp. On a more fundamental level, they have simply run out of time. Quite literally, with just hours to go before his execution, the justices are all that stand between life and death for Edward, and between justice and delay in the eyes of the victims' families. The case the defense team has put before the Supreme Court can be summarized in a couple of sentences: Mr. Edwards' trial was riddled with state misconduct, race bias, false science, and suppressed evidence, all of which call into question the constitutionality of the integrity of his conviction and death sentence. None of these facts were uncovered or presented to the courts until undersigned counsel's appointment approximately seven months ago. Prior to that time, Appellant was represented by ineffective trial counsel, profoundly deficient state habeas counsel, and federal habeas counsel who abandoned him in the midst of the federal proceedings.  Continue reading...

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