Monday, May 07, 2007

Sherrie Stone: My Father is on Death Row

To Whom It May Concern,

I have a Father on Death row In Alabama, Thomas D Arthur Z-427, (6D-11) N-11A. His last appeal to the Supreme Court was denied April 16, 2007 (You can find the writ filed 18295 Sullivan Arthur BrCv.qxd or try ) The State of Alabama has moved to set the execution date. His attorney has filed one last civil motion to get the DNA evidence tested. He will more than likely be executed within a few months. There is a very strong possibility that he is innocent. He is being executed with out his FIRST Habeas Corpus review. Back in 2001 the Courts said he filed it late. At the time, he did not have an attorney. The State of Alabama does not guarantee death row inmates the right to attorney during the complicated appeal process. He did not even have stamps to mail it, if he had filed one. He did not have access to a law library. They say there is one at Holman, but is really a day room for death row inmates. There are required to request law books. Many experienced attorneys have stated that even if they had access to such law books, there would be hundreds of items to research, multiple law books, and filling such appeals require experienced attorneys with capital murder experience. He was within 7 hours of execution in April 2001, when the courts stayed the execution to review the fact he had no attorney.

However his claim of innocence and request for discovery was denied (DNA evidence that could prove his innocence) The courts said he had not proved his claim of innocence. Kinda of hard to do with out the evidence. Back in 1982 when the crime was committed, Thomas Arthur was on a work release program. It was for a murder that he had plead guilty to. He shot his common law wife’s sister and cousin in a drunken rage. He was looking for his son, the common law wife had left with. Even I had never forgiven him for that crime. However when he was released on the work release program, he had stopped drinking, committed his life to Christ and was speaking to high school kids to help them not make the mistakes he had made. He was a different person. Then he was arrested for the crime he is now on death row for. He always said he was innocent. The victim’s wife Judy Wicker, was also arrested and tried in the murder. Her original statement was my father had nothing to do with the murder. She also stated a black man raped her and killed her husband Troy Wicker. She was given a life sentence and even though there was no physical evidence, my father was also convicted. At the time of the crime, a rape kit was done, bloody clothes were taken, finger prints, hair, the bullet that killed Troy Wicker were among the many items collected. Back then DNA testing was not available. However the finger prints and hair samples did not match my fathers. All of this is in the Writ that was just denied by the Supreme Court.

My father got 2 re-trials because of errors made in the trials. The DNA evidence was never allowed to the defense. The appointed attorneys had no murder experience, especially capital murder experience. One of the appointed attorneys even sent my father a letter saying he was not qualified, or prepared to defend him. Most of the attorneys never communicated with him. Private investigators that offered to help my father were turned away by prison officials and not allowed to visit him. The 2nd trial Judy Wicker changed her story after 10 years in prison in exchange for freedom. Her defense attorney was the prosecutor that put her in prison to start with. He had become a defense attorney. There are 3 people who have admitted to assisting with the murder, Judy Wicker, Wickers sister, Teresa Rowland, and Teresa’s boyfriend at the time, Theron McKinney. All are free, 2 never charged with anything. Also Judy now said my father raped her and killed Troy Wicker. The rape kit results that were done when the crime occurred were never given to my fathers defense attorneys, to this day all the evidence that could be tested for DNA is being denied. The rape kit alone could show my fathers innocence and cast serious doubt on Judy Wicker’s statements.

I am giving you the short version. All of these facts are found in the Writ I provided a link for. The local papers and media in Florence Alabama have been writing about this case, but in a negative way. Everyone is screaming for the victims rights and why is it taking so long to kill my father. I say 25 years is a long time for someone to sit in prison for a crime they did not commit, and even worse to die for a crime they did not commit. I also say they are 2 sets of victim’s when a murder occurs, the family of the murdered, and the family of the convicted one. I have rights as well, and want closure. I want this evidence DNA tested. I want closure just like the family of the murdered. The State of Alabama has always gotten away with making their own rules and doing things that are just not right.

My letter to you is to bring this to your attention and possibly you can inform all the groups and organizations you work with. Perhaps bringing this to the public’s attention will help my father at least win his civil suit to obtain the DNA evidence. Any help will be greatly appreciated.


Sherrie Stone