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Tuesday, 4 February, 2003, 16:44 GMT
Time running out for death row Briton
Jackie Elliott with his mother Dorothy
Jackie Elliott denies rape and murder
A Texas judge has refused to allow new DNA testing in the case of a British-born man scheduled to be executed on Tuesday.

Jackie Elliott, 43, is due to be put to death by lethal injection for the rape and murder of an 18-year-old woman in 1986.

His legal team wanted DNA tests conducted on samples taken from the crime scene, which they said would prove that while Elliott was at the scene, he did not commit the crime.

But the court said evidence could only be released if it could prove the defendant was not even at the scene of the crime.

Elliott's last day
Mother and older brother visit in morning
Younger sister visits in afternoon and stays for execution
Texas Parole Board decision expected 1800 GMT
Texas governor may accept or reject board's decision
Possible appeal to Texas Criminal Court of Appeal - highest Texas court
If appeal fails: Final meal of Earl Grey tea and British biscuits served
Execution set for midnight
"The tests could conclusively prove his innocence, and yet they seem happy to let him die without finding out the truth," said Richard Bourke, one of Elliott's lawyers.

"Every indication is that the Americans are determined to kill this guy," he added.

The father-of-two is due to be executed at midnight GMT on Tuesday.

He has opted for a last meal of Earl Grey tea and English biscuits but has not given up hope of a reprieve.

Defence appeal

Elliott's defence team have filed an appeal against the DNA ruling and for an emergency stay of execution with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal, the state's highest court.

Joyce Munguia
Victim Joyce Munguia was a teenage mother
If this fails, they intend to appeal to the highest court in the country - the US Supreme Court in Washington.

The Texas Pardons and Parole Board is expected to make its recommendation on clemency at about 1800 GMT.

It can either commute the death sentence to life imprisonment, reject the representations and allow the execution to go ahead or suggest a stay of execution of 30 days.

The decision then goes to the Texas governor Rick Perry who can accept or reject the board's decision.

If he rules the execution should go ahead, Elliott's lawyers will lodge a second appeal to the Texas Criminal Court of Appeal.

Straw's intervention

The murder victim, Joyce Munguia, was gang-raped and beaten to death with a motorcycle chain.

Elliott was convicted after some of his co-defendants gave evidence against him.

Yes I did [see her die]... but it wasn't me that killed her

Jackie Elliott
Conservative MP John Gummer - in whose Suffolk constituency Elliott was born - visited Texas last week to try and persuade the authorities to delay the execution.

He said a poor education and an inexperienced lawyer had contributed to Elliott's conviction.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is understood to have written to Governor Perry asking for Elliott's sentence to be commuted to life.

Mr Straw's most recent intervention was on 30 January when he contacted the chairman of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole to urge them to commute the death sentence to a prison term and reiterate Britain's opposition to capital punishment.

And 134 MPs have signed a Commons motion urging Tony Blair to speak directly to US President George Bush on Elliott's behalf.

But a Downing Street spokeswoman told BBC News Online the matter was not raised when the two men met last week, because it was a matter for the governor of Texas, not the US President.

The son of a US serviceman, Elliott left England when he was six months old.

Texas State authorities have never responded to a foreign plea for clemency.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Willis reports from Texas
"Jackie Elliott has given up hope of a dramatic last minute reprieve"

Click here to go to BBC Suffolk
See also:

30 Jan 03 | England
17 Jan 03 | England
17 Jan 03 | England
16 Jan 03 | Americas
08 Jan 03 | England
Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


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