Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A Texas man who has maintained his innocence is set to be executed Thursday for a double homicide in 2002, barring a last-minute legal reversal.
Terry Edwards, 43, was convicted of capital murder for the slaying of two employees in a Subway restaurant he and his cousin, Kirk Edwards, robbed. Police located Terry Edwards shortly after the shootings in possession of the gun used in the slayings. He told police his cousin had shot the employees while he was in the bathroom, then handed him the weapon when he returned, before they fled the scene.
Kirk Edwards, who told police he was outside the restaurant and served only as the getaway driver, was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Edwards' legal team filed appeals to have the execution stayed in both state and federal courts, to no avail. The state's highest criminal court ruled against Edwards, saying none of the grounds for appeal laid out in briefs met the legal standard for a new trial. Under Texas law, defendants can be granted a new trial if new evidence comes to light or there is evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.
Edwards' lawyers argued the former Dallas County prosecutor worked in tandem with a supposed defense witness to introduce testimony at trial suggesting Edwards was found with gunshot residue on his hands. Under cross-examination at the trial, the expert said Edwards' hands tested positive for one of three chemicals that indicated gunpowder residue, but explained the other two chemicals could have been wiped off. Edwards' lawyers said subsequent expert reviews have determined it would be impossible for him to have wiped off two gunpowder chemicals, but not the third.
A judge, however, ruled the argument is not tantamount to "new evidence" and thus did not meet the qualifications necessary for a new trial.
Edwards is set to be executed at a state prison in Huntsville, Texas. He would be the second man put to death in the state this year and the third in the country.