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Texas executed Kosoul Chanthakoummane on Wednesday for the 2006 murder of a authentic estate agent in a Collin County product dwelling. It was the second execution this year in a state that commonly puts additional individuals to death than any other.
Chanthakoummane, 41, was sentenced to loss of life for the murder of Sarah Walker, who was brutally crushed and stabbed to demise even though showing a dwelling in a McKinney subdivision. The 40-12 months-old’s Rolex view and ring were being lacking when police arrived.
Witnesses placed Chanthakoummane at the model dwelling, and a bite mark on Walker’s back again and blood below her fingernails and at the scene were linked to him, according to court records. The dying row prisoner extensive claimed he was harmless.
No one from Walker’s family members attended Wednesday’s execution, but Chanthakoummane’s mother stood in a modest room to observe her son die through a pane of glass. Chanthakoummane was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital at 6:18 p.m. in the state’s demise chamber in Huntsville, and he was pronounced dead 15 minutes afterwards.
In his closing assertion, Chanthakoummane thanked Jesus, his supporters and jail ministers “for aiding me in my journey.”
“To Ms. Walker’s loved ones, I pray my loss of life will provide you peace,” he said into a microphone hanging higher than him as he lay on a jail gurney.
Throughout his just about 15 a long time on dying row, the prisoner’s lawyers had chipped away at the reliability of proof employed to convict him of Walker’s killing. Forensic scientists have mainly debunked the skill to match bite marks to an unique. And the witnesses who testified Chanthakoummane was the male they observed on the day of the murder had formerly been hypnotized by law enforcement investigators, irrespective of scientific evidence that the practice can distort reminiscences.
But analysts also identified his DNA was on Walker’s fingernails and somewhere else at the criminal offense scene, and that evidence mostly confident the courts they experienced the appropriate gentleman. In his very last appeals to Collin County and the Texas Court docket of Legal Appeals submitted last week, Chanthakoummane’s lawyers argued that the DNA evidence is also questionable.
Below a 2013 Texas “junk science” regulation, courts can overturn a conviction when the scientific proof introduced at demo has considering the fact that transformed or been discredited.
“Critically, current scientific understanding contradicts the trial court’s earlier discovering that the ‘only fair inference’ to be drawn from the DNA evidence is that Mr. Chanthakoummane violently attacked Ms. Walker,” wrote lawyers Catherine Clare Bernhard and Eric J. Allen.
In a court docket submitting, the Collin County district attorney’s business replied that “Chanthakoummane provides no new science in the industry of DNA investigation, and even if there have been some thing new, he fails to exhibit it would have prevented his conviction.”
The area and condition courts denied the appeals this week.
After Walker was killed, police initially seemed at folks shut to her. Mates pointed to her ex-husband or romantic companions, and other people noted international investors were being upset with her for large losses in true estate specials, in accordance to Chanthakoummane’s most recent submitting. Walker was also robbed and attacked at her home a number of months earlier, even though Chanthakoummane was incarcerated in North Carolina for an armed robbery dedicated when he was 16.
DNA from blood samples and one more authentic estate agent’s report shifted the investigation’s aim to Chanthakoummane. The other agent, who was offering a household in close proximity to Walker’s model house, and her spouse informed law enforcement they observed an Asian male in a white Ford Mustang park across the avenue from the product residence around the time of the murder. The couple later agreed to hypnosis by a Texas Ranger to see if they could keep in mind a lot more, but the state mentioned the controversial observe did not significantly change their testimony.
At trial, an additional authentic estate agent testified that the day before Walker’s murder, Chanthakoummane came to her residence and asked to use the telephone, indicating his automobile broke down, in accordance to court files. She identified as the police when he refused to go away.
Chanthakoummane initially denied at any time likely to the product dwelling, but below law enforcement interrogation said he went into the property to use the cellphone and drink some drinking water immediately after possessing motor vehicle difficulties. He mentioned he didn’t see any individual inside and mentioned previous accidents on his hands could have left blood behind.
Law enforcement and prosecutors turned down the assertion, but Chanthakoummane’s attorneys say new scientific investigate shows his DNA could have been transferred to Walker’s fingernails with out any immediate get hold of involving them — for occasion, if she touched an item he experienced left a blood mark on. The National Institute of Standards and Technologies issued a draft report last 12 months that explained the likelihood of these transfers simply cannot be overlooked in felony investigations.
Chanthakoummane’s legal professionals pointed out an illustration of a person who was suspected of murder for the reason that his DNA was found on the fingernails of a murder victim. It was later found out the suspect had been wounded on the day of the killing and ridden in the identical ambulance as the murder sufferer hrs before, resulting in his DNA transfer.
Collin County Assistant Legal District Lawyer Lisa Braxton mentioned the concept of DNA transfers, nevertheless, is not new.
“Contamination and transfer are and normally have been a consideration in the interpretation of mixtures,” the prosecutor wrote in her filing. “And even if the review’s conclusions constituted ‘new’ science, Chanthakoummane provides no proof that the lab misinterpreted the DNA mixture on the victim’s fingernails – or any other mixture, for that matter.”
Chanthakoummane’s very last charm also attempted to discredit witness testimony stating his vehicle was outside the house the model household all-around the time of Walker’s murder. His attorneys said that a previous deputy chief of the Richardson Law enforcement Division explained to murder investigators he spoke to Walker in the model household for numerous minutes all-around the time she is believed to have been killed. The deputy main mentioned another motor vehicle with a girl driving on the street, but not a white Mustang.
The prisoner’s attorneys also mentioned new DNA tests done very last 12 months on samples from a plant stand, assumed by prosecutors to have been applied to fatally beat Walker, did not match Chanthakoummane and instead possibly implicated yet another person.
“Unsurprisingly, the protection did not emphasize the gaps and inconsistencies in the State’s concept, like the inconsistent accounts about when the white Mustang was observed near the criminal offense scene,” Bernhard and Allen wrote.
In 2019, Chanthakoummane experienced argued for a new demo for the reason that his law firm explained to jurors he was responsible towards his wishes. The prisoner informed the courts he insisted on keeping his innocence, but instead, his law firm stated in his opening statement that Chanthakoummane wished to rob Walker and ended up killing her.
The Court of Felony Appeals rejected the prisoner’s pleas for a new trial, indicating he could have raised the concern earlier, even with the U.S. Supreme Court docket ruling in 2018 that the Sixth Amendment assures a defendant the ideal to insist that his counsel refrain from admitting guilt.
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