On May 19, Walter Barton became the first person executed in the US in over two months, convicted of killing an 81-year-old acquaintance nearly three decades ago.
But the Innocence Project and others believed him wrongfully convicted. The Midwest Innocence Project believed that the evidence was unreliable.
Barton was convicted based on the testimony of an unreliable jailhouse informant and the use of bloodstain pattern analysis—a forensic method whose validity scientists have questioned.
The only piece of physical evidence used to connect Barton to the murder was a spot of blood found on his shirt, which Barton has always said got on his shirt while he was pulling the victim’s granddaughter off her body—a fact the victim’s granddaughter confirmed to investigators. New expert analysis has revealed that the spot is consistent with Barton’s account of events, and that the blood was not a result of spatter from the crime.
Significantly, the victim was stabbed 50 times, and the real perpetrator of the crime would have been covered with blood, which Barton was not.
Everyday Injustice speaks to Walter Barton’s wife Bebra Barton and longtime friend, Paula Skillicorn.
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