Doubts Still Plague the 31-Year-Old Lester Bower Case But Texas is About to Kill Him Anyway | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Doubts Still Plague the 31-Year-Old Lester Bower Case But Texas is About to Kill Him Anyway

Bower maintains his innocence. He has alleged his defense at trial was deficient, and that prosecutors withheld critical evidence from his attorneys. Moreover, since his conviction, witnesses have come forward to say that they know who really killed the four men in the aircraft hangar at the B&B Ranch — and it wasn’t Les Bower. Although the issues raised by Bower’s case are significant, and questions about his guilt linger, the case has nonetheless escaped wider scrutiny.

Yet with more details having emerged about the murders after Bower was sentenced to die, his case is as surreal today as was the scene at the courthouse on the day he was condemned 31 years ago. In the intervening decades, it has become a potent example of problems that plague the criminal justice system, raising serious questions about death penalty prosecutions in particular. Among them: How much prosecutorial misconduct is acceptable? Is a defendant entitled to a reasoned defense? If a compelling alternative theory of a crime exists, should a defendant be permitted a second chance at trial? And, does three decades behind bars render an execution cruel and unusual punishment?

In the face of these questions, Texas courts have repeatedly denied Bower relief. In a 2012 ruling that denied the majority of his claims on appeal, state Judge James Fallon opined that while Bower’s evidence that someone else committed the crime “could conceivably have produced a different result at trial, it does not prove by clear and convincing evidence that [Bower] is actually innocent.”

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