, 2022-08-15 13:39:10,
A Dallas man who was convicted of killing a real estate agent inside a McKinney model home in 2006 is once again asking to be spared death on the eve of his execution.
Kosoul Chanthakoummane, 41, has already successfully halted his execution twice, citing questionable forensic techniques that helped send him to death row.
But the state has opposed any new delays, saying DNA testing and retesting over the years has provided solid evidence of his guilt. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in October 2020 that Chanthakoummane’s DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails and in the model home where she was killed.
Chanthakoummane is scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday in Huntsville for the slaying of Sarah Anne Walker, 40.
He admitted to being inside the model home where her body was found but maintains his innocence. Anti-death penalty activists oppose his execution, saying his conviction 15 years ago was based in part on flawed and outdated evidence like bite mark analysis and forensic hypnosis.
Police arrested Chanthakoummane after they released a sketch with the help of a hypnotized witness who claimed to have seen a young Asian man at the scene. Law enforcement officials believe hypnosis acts as a “relaxation tool” to get witnesses and victims to recall what they saw. But its use has dropped off since the 1970s and ‘80s, and many states have banned it due to questions of reliability. Chanthakoummane’s attorneys have called it “junk science.”
The hypnosis was used for the police sketch after the witnesses, a real estate agent and her husband, reported seeing an Asian man in a white Mustang at the model home the day of the murder. At trial, they identified Chanthakoummane as the man they saw as well as his Mustang.
Another real estate agent who had previously helped Chanthakoummane find an apartment told police he showed up at her home the night before the murder and banged on her doors.
The state appeals court found that the bite mark analysis played a “minimal role” in the case.
“The linchpin of the State’s case was the DNA evidence found at the scene and under Walker’s fingernails,” the appellate judges wrote in a 2020 opinion.
Chanthakoummane’s lawyer could not be reached Monday for comment.
The state also relied on Chanthakoummane’s own admissions, eyewitness accounts and other circumstantial…
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