This news caught me completely off guard. I’ve been teaching Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line in my summer film class, and several of my students were curious about what happened to the film’s main participants, and it turns out that David Harris, whose false testimony originally put Randall Dale Adams on death row for the murder of Officer Robert Wood, faces execution this week in Texas.
A federal judge blocked the lethal injection procedure Texas uses for executions, and Harris’s lawyers have other appeals pending with the U.S. Supreme Court. In fact, the lawyers have appealed due to the testimony by court psychologists that Harris would be likely continue to be a danger to society. In The Thin Blue Line, Morris and Adams work to discredit the testimony of one such court psychologist, James Grigson (about whom Morris originally planned to make the documentary before learning about the Adams case), whose testimony helped put the innocent Adams on death row in the first place. I’m not sure why this story has thrown me so much. I oppose the death penalty, no matter the victim, but because of Morris’s film, I have a little more sympathy for David Harris.
Update: CNN is reporting that Harris was executed this morning.