NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee death row inmate on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to set aside his execution date so an appeals court can consider new evidence in his case. affair.
Oscar Smith, 71, is due to receive a lethal injection on April 21. He was found guilty of fatally stabbing and shooting his estranged wife, Judith Smith, and sons Jason and Chad Burnett, 13 and 16, at their Nashville home on October 1. , 1989. Smith maintained that he is innocent.
Earlier this month, Smith asked the Davidson County Criminal Court to reopen his case after a new type of DNA analysis found DNA from an unknown person on one of the murder weapons. The judge denied that request as well as a second request for reconsideration, writing that there was ample evidence of Smith’s guilt. Smith appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals and requested an expedited hearing.
In a motion Thursday, Smith’s attorneys asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to halt Smith’s execution so the Court of Appeals could have time to fully consider the new evidence. They argue the criminal court judge applied the law incorrectly when he denied Smith’s request to reopen his case.
Smith has previously sought to prove that the fingerprint evidence used against him was unreliable. In Thursday’s motion, Smith’s attorneys argued that the combination of a fingerprint and DNA from an unknown person on one of the murder weapons should be considered strong evidence of his innocence.
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