Gregory Edward Wright is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas October 30, 2008 for the murder of Donna Vick on March 21, 1997 in Desoto, Texas. Mr. Wright was one of two defendants sentenced to death in this case in separate trials. A petition for Commutation of his death sentence or in the alternative, a 180 day Reprieve has been submitted by his attorneys.
We are requesting that letters of support be sent to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, asking them to recommend these actions to the Governor, and to the Governor asking him to commute the death sentence to life or to grant a 180 day reprieve.
Some of the issues in Mr. Wright’s case have never been considered on appeal because his State Habeas attorney did virtually no work on his behalf leaving these issues unpreserved and preventing them from being raised in later appeals. This attorney is no longer on the list of attorneys approved to represent capital defendants in their appeals.
The other defendant in this case made confessions to the murder to a number of individuals both before the trial and after conviction. However he has never confessed under oath. One such confession was to an individual working at a 24 hour video story on the evening of the murder. The other defendant then asked him to call 911 for him. Both of them made calls to 911, but the tapes, which might have been helpful to Mr. Wright’s defense, have disappeared.
Mr. Wright’s attorneys were unable to find this witness to interview him, and the prosecutor’s office claimed they did not know his whereabouts. An affidavit by this witness confirms that the prosecutor’s office maintained contact with him prior to the trial.
There was another person to whom the other defendant confessed shortly after the murder while driving the victim’s car that the defense was never aware of until after the trial.
The prosecution made an undisclosed deal with another person who testified against Mr. Wright at his trial, providing information not available from any other source that was very damaging to Mr. Wright, such as a cheerful demeanor after the murder. Although this witness testified to actions that would have subjected him to a lengthy prison sentence, he was never charged with a crime. Upon questioning by the defense attorney, both the witness and the prosecutor denied the existence of any deal. However testimony during the trial of the other defendant in the murder confirms the existence of a deal made prior to Mr. Wright’s trial.
A lot of emphasis was placed on the testimony of this witness during both the trial and the punishment phase. Failure to disclose a deal rendered the defense unable to point out the bias of this witness. Not only did the prosecution deny a deal but repeatedly insisted that none existed.
Items related to the crime, papers and clothing, such as a pair of jeans containing Mr. Vick’s blood, were found in a shack in Desoto. Although the police and the prosecutor were aware that both men had access to this shack, at trial the information was withheld that paperwork belonging to the other defendant was also present, and access was attributed only to Mr. Wright. In the other defendant’s trial, the shack was described as being shared by both men. There remain questions about the ownership of the jeans, which have questionable DNA inside a pant leg, and DNA testing is ongoing. Further testing is being opposed by the prosecution.
The state presented as their only physical evidence against Mr. Wright a partial bloody fingerprint on a pillowcase lifted by a crime scene officer not trained to handle evidence and who has now been indicted for murder in another case and is currently a fugitive from justice. Members of the Dallas Co. Sheriff’s Office with extensive experience and training in fingerprint identification did not find the print comparable to any suspect. A retired print examiner, who had worked in the past with the other examiners, testified to the match to Mr. Wright’s known prints without showing the points of comparison and told the jury they would have to take his word for it. A forensic scientist who recently reviewed the materials found that no scientific comparison could be made on the materials submitted at trial.
In conclusion, Mr. Wright did not have a fair trial. Witnesses were hidden, key evidence was suppressed, and testimony was bought and paid for. The State “shopped” for a fingerprint expert who would testify to a match.
There are serious doubts that Gregory Wright is guilty of the crime for which he is scheduled to be executed. There is NO doubt that he did not receive a fair trial
Using the information in this summary and any other factors you think should be considered, please write your letters to the Governor and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Remember to include in your letter your awareness of the severity of the crime and the harm done to Ms. Vick and the loss to any of her relatives or loved ones.
Please send your letters as soon as you are reasonably able to do so as the petition has already been submitted.
Here is the contact information:
Rissie Owens, Presiding Officer
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles & other Board Members
Executive Clemency Section
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78758
Begin your letter: Dear Mrs. Owens and other Board Members:
Governor Rick Perry
Governor of the State of Texas
Office of the Governor
P. O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711