On June 23, 2000 a controversial execution took place in Texas. It was not a first for the Lone Star State. This execution drew media attention, anti-death penalty protests and noted civil rights activists. The executed inmate was Gary Graham, 36, an African American. He was convicted on the word of one eyewitness.
Frank Jarrett, chairman of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, said of the witness: “She was credible” compared to the witnesses who testified for Graham. He said the woman never wavered from her testimony whereas the other witnesses changed their stories.
Gary Graham was convicted in 1981. He claimed he was innocent of the shooting death. He was 17 when he was charged with the 1981 armed robbery and shooting death of Bobby Lambert outside a Houston supermarket. Graham was convicted primarily on the testimony of one witness, Bernadine Skillern, who testified that she saw the killer's face for a few seconds through her windshield from a distance of 30-40 feet.
A) Only one of six witnesses identified Graham.
B) The gun found on Graham did not fire the bullet that killed Lambert.
C) Four witnesses said Graham was some place else when the robbery/murder took place.
Graham refused a last meal.