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Supreme Court To Review Texan's Death Row Case & Midday Roundup


By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a Texas death row inmate should have access to evidence for DNA testing that he says could clear him of three murders.

The justices said Monday they will use the case of Hank Skinner to decide whether prison inmates may use a federal civil rights law to do DNA testing that was not performed prior to their conviction.

Federal appeals courts around the country have decided the issue differently. The high court previously blocked Skinner's execution while it considered his appeal.

Lawmaker wants Gates to answer for Texas reservist

A Colorado congressman has written Defense Secretary Robert Gates seeking answers in the case of a Texas man who tricked the Army into allowing him to enter the reserves as a noncommissioned officer.

The letter from Republican Mike Coffman on Monday follows an Associated Press story detailing how Jesse Bernard Johnston, 26, gained the rank despite no military experience other than attending part of a Marine officer candidate course in college.

The letter says Coffman, an ex-Marine, has obtained a copy of a phony Marine discharge document that may have been used by Johnston when he enlisted in the Army.

It cites national security concerns and calls the Army's lack of verification "both stunning and frightening." A Pentagon spokeswoman said she couldn't immediately comment.

Perry's jog sparks 'Coyote Special' pistols

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's deadly showdown with a varmint has prompted a gun manufacturer to sell a "Coyote Special" edition of his weapon of choice.

Strum, Ruger & Co. Inc., makers of the .380 pistol Perry used to shoot a coyote that was threatening his dog, has come out with a limited edition version emblazoned with "Coyote Special" and "A True Texan" on the sides.

On top is a picture of a coyote howling at the moon and five-pointed star of Texas.

The gun sells for about $340. A laser site - like the one Perry uses - will cost about $180 more. The box says the gun is "For Sale to Texans Only."

Joe McBride, owner of McBride's Guns in Austin where Perry is a frequent shopper, said sales have been brisk.