Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Texas executed an innocent man

This, Stephen Harper, is why Canada MUST seek clemency in all death penalty cases involving Canadian citizens. Because even in so-called democratic countries, they get it wrong. Because innocent people can be put to death. Because you don't get any do-overs. And because capital punishment is just plain wrong.

Chicago Tribune:

In a withering critique, a nationally known fire scientist has told a state commission on forensics that Texas fire investigators had no basis to rule a deadly house fire was an arson -- a finding that led to the murder conviction and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.

The finding comes in the first state-sanctioned review of an execution in Texas, home to the country's busiest death chamber. If the commission reaches the same conclusion, it could lead to the first-ever declaration by an official state body that an inmate was wrongly executed.

Indeed, the report concludes there was no evidence to determine that the December 1991 fire was even set, and it leaves open the possibility the blaze that killed three children was an accident and there was no crime at all -- the same findings found in a Chicago Tribune investigation of the case published in December 2004.

Willingham, the father of those children, was executed in February 2004. He protested his innocence to the end.
Daily Kos:

Those smiles belong to Amber Willingham and her father, Cameron Todd Willingham.

Both of them were killed because of an accidental fire. Amber and her two sisters died in the blaze. Cameron was wrongfully executed by the state of Texas for setting it.

Today, Texas took the first big step in admitting it murdered an innocent man in its death chamber. And the implications are huge.

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Spudster said...

Absolutely horrifying.

Let's hope this kickstarts reform again.

susansmith said...

good post Jeff.