Sixteen years after allegedly murdering Texas actual property agent Sarah Walker, dying row inmate Kosoul Chanthakoummane is lower than 24 hours from his execution.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined Chanthakoummane’s newest request for a 120-day reprieve or commutation of his sentence to life with out parole on Monday, in response to The Related Press.
Chanthakoummane’s authorized group has spent the previous a number of years questioning investigators’ ways, which included allegedly shoddy DNA and bite-mark analyses and hypnotism to garner stronger statements from eye-witnesses.
“I’m harmless,” Chanthakoummane mentioned in his final appeals letter in March.
Chanthakoummane was accused of robbing and killing Walker in a DR Horton mannequin house she’d been displaying to potential homebuyers. In keeping with state prosecutors, Chanthakoummane bludgeoned Walker with a picket plant stand after which proceeded to stab the agent greater than 30 occasions earlier than taking her Rolex watch and silver ring, each of which had been by no means recovered.
The Texas Tribune mentioned investigators thought-about different suspects, together with Walker’s ex-husband, different romantic companions, and patrons and sellers who had been allegedly a part of different offers gone fallacious. Additionally they reexamined one other case Walker was concerned in mere months earlier than her homicide when assailants attacked and robbed her at her Dallas space house.
Nonetheless, brokers and purchaser testimony of an Asian man parking a white Mustang in entrance of Walker’s itemizing and strolling inside led police to arrest Chanthakoummane, who had a rap sheet that included violent crimes.
Each the AP and Texas Tribune‘s stories recounted Chanthakoummane’s preliminary trial, the place the plaintiff’s consultants hinged their case on chew marks and remnants of Chanthakoummane’s blood underneath Walker’s fingernails.
After initially denying he ever went into the mannequin house, Chanthakoummane recanted his story and mentioned he’d gone inside for water and the blood underneath Walker’s fingernails was a results of her touching the identical floor he’d touched with an injured hand.
Chanthakoummane maintained his innocence all through the preliminary trial and instantly started the appeals course of. After a number of failures, The Tribune mentioned attorneys Catherine Clare Bernhard and Eric J. Allen discovered some success in 2020 after they satisfied a decide to throw out the bitemark testimony underneath the state’s 2013 “junk science” regulation.
“Critically, present scientific data contradicts the trial courtroom’s earlier discovering that the ‘solely cheap inference’ to be drawn from the DNA proof is that Mr. Chanthakoummane violently attacked Ms. Walker,” Bernhard and Allen advised the Tribune on Wednesday.
His group additionally highlighted the picket plant stand used to bludgeon Walker had DNA from another person; nonetheless, the Collin County district legal professional’s workplace and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles mentioned that wasn’t sufficient to commute Chanthakoummane’s sentence.
“Chanthakoummane presents no new science within the subject of DNA evaluation, and even when there have been one thing new, he fails to indicate it will have prevented his conviction,” courtroom paperwork learn.
Walkers’ household and pals have been silent lately about Chanthakoummane’s a number of appeals, and Inman has but to obtain a response to a request for remark from Walker’s former employer, DR Horton.
Nonetheless, Walkers’ late father did assist Chanthakoummane’s request to obtain life in jail. In 2013, Joseph Walker shared private reminiscences about his slain daughter’s life with a neighborhood information outlet the Occasions Union, and petitioned the group to “pray for [his] daughter’s killer.”
“The FBI says it was one of the crucial brutal single murders they ever investigated,” Mr. Walker mentioned. “He stabbed her 27 occasions. Bashed her cranium in. She had chew marks on her. It was mindless. It was a horrible, horrible crime.”
“She was lively, a fantastic younger woman,” he added. “Individuals need revenge, however revenge by no means works. Sure, it was only a completely mindless, random act. However everybody deserves each little bit of their life to allow them to have an opportunity to repent and go to heaven. I consider that absolutely, utterly. God desires to not lose even one soul.”
Except Chanthakoummane’s authorized group appeals to america Supreme Court docket; he would be the second inmate put to dying this yr in Texas and the ninth within the U.S.