Imagine spending more than thirty years on Death Row for a crime that you did not commit. Has the justice system failed you? This is the story of Lester Bower, a man convicted in 1984 of murdering four men all of whom he had associated with but only to buy an ultralight aircraft.
A constitutional right to those accused should be the illegality of prosecutors withholding evidence, or so you would think. Ammunition that Bower possessed at the time of the crime was the same ammunition that had taken the lives of four men who had sold and helped disassemble and load an ultralight aircraft into the back of Bower’s truck. Prosecutors deemed the ammunition “rare” and this caused for reasonable doubt of innocence, ultimately leading Bower to his unjust fate. Turns out, this ammunition was more common than formerly assumed by the prosecutors. This evidence put away Bower for what must have felt like a lifetime until that time eventually took his life.
A woman later came forward confessing to her boyfriend’s and friends of her boyfriend’s wrongdoing; they were responsible for the murders that took place that night. The wife of one of the men who had committed the crime corroborated her story years later just before the trial. This confession did not change Bower’s sentencing soon enough even though his defense team brought the “glaring” evidence to the forefront for a retrial. A drug deal gone wrong ultimately plotted these four men in their grave, not the hands of Lester Bower. The “significant lingering doubt” that loomed over Bower’s case was not enough to save him from what lied ahead. Bower was executed at the hands of Texas’ law enforcement for the wrongly accused murder of four men in Grayson County, Texas in 1983.
My question of the week: Is it right to withhold evidence in any legal, social, etc. situation?
Cases of the wrongly accused have always fascinated me in the sense that many of them are the result of fraudulent trials or the lack of advanced technology. More than twenty individuals have been wrongly served Capital Punishment or the Death Penalty as their sentence for a crime they have not committed within the past several years. Although many state have abandoned this out-of-date punishment for more humane ways of punishing inmates, there are still states that practice Capital Punishment.
The withholding of evidence ultimately allowed the prosecutor to win in this case because the evidence would have ultimately created reasonable doubt. Whether the prosecution team has a bias towards a certain individual or ideal, I do not believe that it is right to use that against an individual, especially when their life is literally on the line.
What is your opinion? Do you believe that the justice system failed Lester Bower?
Read more here: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/executed-possibly-innocent
Disclaimer: These individuals are possibly innocent, but I am writing as if they were proven innocent for the sake of being the devil’s advocate to provoke conversation.