Days from execution, inmate pins hopes on woman's story

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Days from execution, inmate pins hopes on woman's story

Post  Jennie on Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:31 pm

Days from execution, inmate pins hopes on woman's story

Lester Bower, at the Polunsky Unit in East Texas, has been on death row
since 1984. He acknowledges meeting 2 of the victims on the day they died
but has denied involvement in their slayings.

Witness says condemned man isn't responsible for 1983 slayings

Since 1984, Lester Leroy Bower Jr. has sat on Texas death row, convicted
for the 1983 massacre of 4 men in a Sherman airplane hangar.

The Arlington man now faces execution on July 22, and as time runs out,
his lawyers are fighting to save his life by trying to prove he was not
the killer after all.

One key witness, a woman who came forward years ago, says it was her
then-boyfriend and 3 other drug dealers who were responsible for the
slayings.

Though a prosecutor says she is certain that the right man has been
convicted, Bowers lawyers say their investigation has verified key details
of the woman's story.

But for Bower, will it be too late?

****************

Witness says condemned man isn't responsible for 1983 slayings

Just a few paragraphs into the Star-Telegram story, the woman knew
something was terribly wrong. A man named Lester Leroy Bower Jr. was on
death row for the 1983 massacre of four men in a Sherman airplane hangar,
she read that morning in 1989. But the woman, who asked to be identified
by the pseudonym "Pearl," had reason to believe that Bower wasn't the
killer at all that it was her ex-boyfriend and three others who had
committed the crime.

The woman showed the story to her sister, the one person she had told of
her suspicions about the old boyfriend.

"Theyre going to put that guy to death for that," she remembers her sister
saying.

"Yeah, I know," Pearl replied.

"But he didn't do it?"

"No," Pearl said.

"You've got to do something," the sister said.

After a day of struggling with fears for her own life, Pearl did. The next
day, she contacted Bower's lawyers from Washington, D.C., told them her
story and signed a legal affidavit attesting to it.

Now, 19 years later, information she related is at the heart of an
increasingly urgent effort to save Bower's life. On July 22, after 24
years on Texas death row, Bower is scheduled to die by lethal injection.

Bower's lawyers say they have identified the 4 men whom Pearl alleges to
be the killers, have documented their long criminal records and have
confirmed other key parts of her story. In recent months, a defense
investigator has also located another witness, the wife of one of alleged
accomplices who said she heard the 4 men discussing the killings. The
names of the new suspects, though known to defense lawyers, have remained
sealed by court order.

"I don't want Mr. Bower to die for something that he didn't do," said
Pearl, who broke up with her boyfriend shortly after the slayings and
remains fearful of him today. Since she signed the affidavit in 1989, her
identity has been concealed by court order. "I know in my heart that he
didn't do it. I just could not in my conscience sit back and just go, 'Oh
well, sorry.'

(source for both: Fort Worth Stgar-Telegram)
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Jennie
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