Crunch day looms on death row

SUFFOLK-born John "Jackie" Elliott's days on death row are numbered – by this time next week he could be executed, or be free.Tomorrow is the crunch day for him as his lawyers meet the Texas district attorney to seek permission to carry out a DNA test which could prove his innocence, 16 years after he was convicted or rape and murder.

SUFFOLK-born John "Jackie" Elliott's days on death row are numbered – by this time next week he could be executed, or be free.

Tomorrow is the crunch day for him as his lawyers meet the Texas district attorney to seek permission to carry out a DNA test which could prove his innocence, 16 years after he was convicted or rape and murder.

It has been a long wait for Elliott, who was born and lived as a youngster in Felixstowe and still has British citizenship.

He has always claimed he was innocent of the crime, but it was not until his case was taken up by campaign groups and MPs in the UK that anyone started looking afresh at the murder.


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Elliott, 42, has been greatly heartened at the support from Britain, which has included 134 MPs signing an early day motion calling for clemency.

"It's given me something to hold onto," he said. "Like when you're drowning and somebody throws you a rope.

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"I've gotten more support from people in Britain than I've ever got here. I was always proud of the fact that I was born in England."

John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Coastal, has just returned from four days in Austin, Texas, to meet legal teams and discuss the case of Elliott who was sentenced to death for killing an 18-year-old Joyce Munguia.

The defence team want the case to be reopened and the go-ahead given for DNA tests to be carried out.

If the district attorney's team refuse the request then Elliott's future will be decided by the 17 members of the Board of Paroles and Pardons meeting on Friday, four days before the scheduled execution.

Mr Gummer said: "He is a British subject and in those circumstances we do have to put the case and the point to the Board that the evidence on which he was convicted has some very serious gaps in it and there are some real concerns.

"It would help a great deal if they would cancel the date of the execution and instead ensure that there were these tests for the DNA which we believe could show clearly that he was in fact not guilty.

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