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Houston Chronicle- Federal Judge Raises Questions of Innocence

October 3, 2018

The gunshots screeched over the static of the police radio, followed by the last breaths of sheriff’s Deputy Barrett Hill. It was the dark, predawn hours of Dec. 4, 2000, and someone had just committed a capital murder. There were no eyewitnesses and no forensic evidence. But two years later, Rob Will was sentenced to die for the crime in front of a courtroom crowded with uniformed police officers.

Despite the circumstantial case that sent him to death row, Will has always maintained his innocence. His alibi? He says he was handcuffed at the time. Now, nearly two decades into the legal wrangling, a federal judge is again questioning whether Will may be telling the truth. In a rare, strongly worded order last week, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison advanced the condemned cop killer’s appeal even as he bemoaned his own inability to do more in a case that experts say highlights systemic issues within the death penalty appeals process.

“The Court very much wishes it could take up all of these issues,” Ellison wrote. “Nevertheless, this Court lacks jurisdiction to explore the troubling concerns that plague Will’s capital conviction.”

New York Times- Appeal of Death Row Case Is More Than a Matter of Guilt or Innocence

March 10, 2012

No one saw Rob Will shoot and kill Harris County Deputy Sheriff Barrett Hill in the still-black morning hours in a Houston bayou on Dec. 4, 2000. No physical evidence linked him to the murder

Mr. Will, now on death row, said that he is innocent, but that he has been represented by ineffective lawyers. He has a new lawyer who faces the daunting challenge of representing Mr. Will at this late stage in his appeals.

Witnesses have testified that another man confessed to Deputy Hill’s murder. But in a January ruling, Judge Keith Ellison of United States District Court lamented that even though he was concerned Mr. Will could be innocent, he had to deny his motion for a new trial.

“The questions raised during post-judgment factual development about Will’s actual innocence create disturbing uncertainties,” he wrote. “Federal law does not recognize actual innocence as a mechanism to overturn an otherwise valid conviction.”

Houston Chronicle- Death Row Inmate's Effort to Spare Life Gains Momentum

April 2, 2012

Like so many before him, Texas death row inmate Robert Gene Will II says he's not guilty. Given the state of Texas' record in seeing its death sentences carried out, the odds on getting the right people to believe him are not great.

But there have been exceptions. Will insists that if he can get a fair hearing, he will be another one. He admits he was no saint in his younger days, that he ran with a bad crowd, and yes, that he and a buddy were breaking into a car on the morning of Dec. 4, 2000, when a spotlight suddenly caught them in its glare. Within moments his life changed forever, and Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Barrett Hill lost his.

Will claims he did not shoot Hill. He has claimed as much since the day of his arrest. He could not have done it, he says, because his hands literally were tied behind his back.

 

Huffington Post - Letter From Death Row: It’s Time to Stop Executing the Insane

April 18 2013

A condemned Texas inmate reflects on the blind justice of putting to death a schizophrenic who has plucked out his own eyes.

 

 

Have you ever heard the screams of the insane? It is something you will never forget; it’s a soul disturbing sound and sometimes it can last for hours and hours, day after day after day. It’s past 2 a.m., and old crazy Bill is still screaming, his cries echoing off the walls and coursing through the cellblock like a small band of maniacal poltergeists toppling over one another in a frantic search for something unattainable.

Is this why so many of the insane in prison rant and scream so maniacally and so very often? Amid the twisted and tumultuous fog of their schizophrenic mind, is a part of their damaged psyche reaching out for help, for comfort, for balance, for peace?

Solitary Watch News- Voices From Solitary: The Heaviness of Blood

31 October 2014

Must the Italians be so very wicked? They have done this all throughout history: created soul-stirring strings music. Music that pulls at ones heartstrings, enhances the emotions with a slight caress, grasps ones deepest feelings and thrusts them into the heavens with the force of Zeus hurling thunderbolts,  or smash-smash-smashes emotions into the abysmal depths of hell with the promise of bringing them back up...up-up-up to the highest heights of deep visceral reflection. There is always beauty to the music but sometimes it’s a dark beauty , a call to raise ones consciousness to the realm of musical spheres regardless of what else is occurring in ones environment but at the same time it compels one to hyper focus on the emotions at hand.  Paganini, Vivaldi, Arcangelo, Corelli, Boccherini, they are all guilty of this and they knew exactly what they were doing in creating  such sense enlivening music. 

 

 

Austin American Statesmen -Death Row Inmates Share Identical Appeals

Feb, 2006

20 pages of death row inmates' appeals are identical, even errors Angel Maturino Resendiz, the train-hopping "Railroad Killer" from Mexico, randomly murdered at least 9 people in gruesome fashion in the late 1990s.

Robert Gene Will, a young car thief sporting tattoos of a handgun and the Grim Reaper, was convicted of fatally shooting a Harris County deputy in the face.

The 2 men have little in common beyond an address on Texas' death row - and one other curious detail. The bulk of their legal briefs, filed 1 1/2 years apart by a Houston lawyerappointed to appeal their cases, are word-for-word identical, right down to a capitalizationerror on page 17.

Labeled "generic" and "lackluster" by another death-penalty defense lawyer in court documents, the relatively brief appeals avoid common death-penalty arguments: questions of mental illness, mitigating circumstances or other specifics designed to show why a defendant should be spared execution.

Instead, the appeals focus primarily on a single technical challenge to Texas law on death penalty jury instructions, without mentioning Resendiz or Will by name or referring to their trials.

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