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Questions over testing stall Bartee execution

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Bartee continues to blame the killing on two gang members he claims he saw enter Cook's house the night of the murder, men he called “Snake” and “Throw Down,” Dow says. Prosecutors called that a lie after police failed to find any hits in the database of known local gang members.

Still, Dow insists testing on the rest of the hair could help corroborate Bartee's standing story. “The reason it matters is because the entirety of the state's case was that the only two people in the house were Bartee and Cook,” he said. “And Bartee's story from the beginning has been that there were other people in the house and that they were responsible for the murder. … The question of how many people were in the house was really a central question at trial.”

Had he not noticed, evidence that Dow says could prove or disprove that would have sat frozen in a DPS lab as Bartee took the needle.

Set to die today
Texas is scheduled to execute George Rivas, 41, who, according to the state, led the notorious “Texas 7” gang of inmates that escaped from a prison near San Antonio in December 2000. On Christmas Eve that year, he shot and killed a police officer during a robbery at an Irving sporting goods store. At the time of the prison break, Rivas had been serving life for multiple counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

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* Originally reported as "Cook."

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