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Innocent on Death Row? New Evidence Casts Doubt on Convictions

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Rodney Reed’s death sentence was suspended. But researchers say other current cases raise similar doubt about the guilt of the accused.
The number of executions in the United States remains close to nearly a three-decade low. And yet the decline has not prevented what those who closely track the death penalty see as a disturbing trend: a significant number of cases in which prisoners are being put to death, or whose execution dates are near, despite questions about their guilt.
Rodney Reed, who came within days of execution in Texas before an appeals court suspended his death sentence on Friday, has been the most high-profile recent example, receiving support from Texas lawmakers of both parties and celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West, who urged a new examination of the evidence.
Mr. Reed has long maintained that he did not commit the 1996 murder for which he was convicted. And in recent months, new witnesses came forward pointing toward another possible suspect: the dead…

On death row 35 years, Texas inmate dies of natural causes

Typical death-row cell, Polunsky Unit, Texas
Typical death-row cell, Polunsky Unit, Texas
Texas prison officials say a man on death row for 35 years for a Houston robbery where 3 people were shot and killed has died of natural causes.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark says 60-year-old Max Soffar died Sunday at the infirmary at the Polunsky Unit prison, home of the state's male death row.

Soffar had said he was being treated for liver cancer.

He was condemned in 1981, a year after the slayings of 17-year-old Arden Alane Felsher, her 17-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Lee Temple, and 25-year-old Stephen Allen Sims, an assistant manager at a bowling alley that was being robbed.

Soffar was retried in 2006 and convicted again.

Only 6 of the some 250 condemned inmates in Texas have served more time than Soffar.

Source: Associated Press, April 25, 2016

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