Death row inmate Lester Bower gets hearings on new evidence

By: Allison Harris Email
By: Allison Harris Email

SHERMAN, TEXAS -- Lester Bower's defense team brought forward new forensic evidence today, supporting their claim that an innocent man has spent 20 years on death row.

Prosecutors say they're still sure they've got the right man.

Day two of convicted killer Lester Bower's evidence hearings revealed new DNA evidence. Evidence that Bower's wife hopes will exonerate him.

"Uh, which is better? To execute a possible innocent man because you won't listen to the truth? Or let him get another chance to tell the truth and prove his case," Shari Bower said.

"It's kind of a dog and pony show this afternoon over the things they've been arguing over the last 30 years, so we're confident it won't change anything, but we want to be careful and the whole system wants to be careful that the right thing is done in this kind of case," Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown said.

Before DNA expert witnesses took the stand, Bower was cross-examined, re-stating much of his testimony.

"It's just re-hashing this whole thing over and over. It's the same thing we've been hearing for 29 years. The wheels of justice turn very slowly," the husband of a victim's daughter Brian Shadden said.

Prosecutors pointed out lies Bower told in the months after the murders and during the trial, focusing on why he lied to his wife about being at the hangar on the day of the murders and buying the ultralight aircraft.

Tuesday, the defense's DNA expert witness -- a forensic scientist -- testified that the murder weapon is not the same type of gun that Bower is accused of using to kill the four men.

He also said that more than one person could have committed the crimes, supporting the defense's Witness One testimony that four drug dealers might have murdered the men.

"They believe that they have the truth already, but there's just too many things out there that say they don't," Shari Bower said.

Of those four drug dealers that supposedly could have committed the crimes, two were DNA tested to see if some unidentified hair found at the crime scene matched their DNA. The results came back negative.

Interestingly, the Bower family and victims's families say they have built a relationship over the years.

"Just a respect, you know, I respect the position they're in, they respect the position I'm in," Shari Bower said.

Family members on either side of this case say they're ready for this to be over, but the defense team says they're still not ready to rest.

"Have you ever had a nightmare or a bad dream and you just couldn't wake up and you knew you were asleep and you knew it wasn't real, but you just couldn't wake up? That's kinda what it's been like," Kelli Hamilton, Shari Bower's sister, said.

Once the defense rests, Judge Jim Fallon has to make his decision by the end of the year, regarding whether he will appeal the death penalty or keep Lester Bower on death row.


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