Tomorrow night the State of Texas will murder once again...
BILLY COBLE, 70. One of the oldest people on death row, he was sentenced to death for the 1989 murders of his estranged wife's parents and brother in Axtell. The brother was a Waco police officer. On appear, Mr. Coble asserted that his trial was tainted by perjured testimony, an unfair venue and junk science.
The death sentence was thrown out in 2007 because the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the trial judge erred in instructing the jury. A new sentencing hearing was held in 2008 and featured the testimony of Dr. Richard Coons who predicted that Mr. Coble would be a danger to those around him - even in prison. The only problem was Mr. Coble had no disciplinary reports after 18 years on death row. Dr. Coons later admitted that there was no peer-reviewed science behind his predictions and that he had his own methodology that he followed.
The state also relied on the testimony of prison investigator A.P. Merillat who regaled the jury with tales of how dangerous Texas prisons could be. He was later found to be an unreliable witness.
In 2010 the Court of Criminal Appeals agreed that the testimony of Dr. Coons and Mr. Merillat should not have been allowed, but upheld the sentence due to the harmless error doctrine.
See: "Texas is Planning an Execution Based on Fraudulent Testimony," ACLU, February 26, 2019, by Brian Stull