Justice must run its course

Published 9:50 pm Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Justice sometimes can be frustrating as it attempts to ensure it is fair, and the proper person is punished.

On Wednesday, the Alabama Supreme Court postponed the execution of Thomas Arthur, just 24 hours before the state was to carry out his death sentence.

Another inmate submitted an affidavit saying he committed the crime that sent Arthur to death row. Arthur’s attorneys believe DNA tests could exonerate their client.

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They had sought a stay of execution from the governor by using an affidavit from Bobby Ray Gilbert, who is serving a life sentence at St. Clair Correctional Facility.

Gilbert said in a sworn statement he killed Wicker. Wicker’s widow, Judy, said she paid money to Arthur, not Gilbert, to kill her husband.

It comes down to a he said, she said.

And Judy Wicker is not the most reliable of sources, either. She claimed a burglar raped her and killed her sleeping husband 23 years ago. Then she changed her story and said Arthur killed her husband.

Neither is Gilbert that trustworthy. The assistant attorney general has said in the 23 years Gilbert has been in prison, he has spent about 20 years in administrative segregation for violating prison rules and regulations. The assistant said Gilbert has convictions for two murders, an escape and assault on another inmate with the intent to commit murder.

Justice should be carried out in this case after all the facts are weighed carefully. Although it is frustrating to many, the court is right to step back and take another look at this case.