"Like so many before him, Texas death row inmate Robert Gene Will II says he's not guilty. Given the state of Texas' record in seeing its death sentences carried out, the odds on getting the right people to believe him are not great.
But there have been exceptions. Will insists that if he can get a fair hearing, he will be another one. He admits he was no saint in his younger days, that he ran with a bad crowd, and yes, that he and a buddy were breaking into a car on the morning of Dec. 4, 2000, when a spotlight suddenly caught them in its glare. Within moments his life changed forever, and Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Barrett Hill lost his.
Will, 33, admits that he and Michael Rosario were burglarizing a car when Hill came across them. They ran, but Will was apprehended. He claimed that he was handcuffed when Rosario showed up and shot the deputy. Prosecutors contended that Will shot the deputy and admitted as much to a motorist he encountered during a later carjacking as he was trying to escape. Will's lawyers argue that the motorist did not mention that in any of her early statements to police.
Will's lawyers also have argued that Rosario, the son of a Houston police officer who was not charged in the murder, has admitted killing Hill to at least five individuals. They also point to an absence of any forensic evidence connecting Will to the shooting, and to a bullet graze on the back of a jacket Will wore that morning - consistent with a shot being fired by Rosario toward Hill when the latter was close by and in custody. Hill's weapon was not fired."
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