Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Indian President commutes death sentence

December 4, 2012: In a first case of pardon by President Pranab Mukherjee after assuming office, death sentence of a convict, Atbir, has been commuted to life imprisonment.

Atbir was sentenced to death by a sessions court in 2004 for the murder of his step mother, step sister and step brother over a property dispute in 1996. The decision was upheld by the High Court and Supreme Court in August 2010.

In June this year, the Home Ministry recommended to the President commutation to life imprisonment.

The President disposed of the petition on November 15 commuting the death sentence given to him to life imprisonment, according to the details of mercy pleas given on the President's office website.

On November 5, the President had rejected the mercy plea of Mohd Ajmal Kasab who was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in August last year for waging war against the country and killing 166 persons and injuring 238 others in the audacious terror attack in Mumbai in 2008.

According to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mukherjee has sent nine mercy petitions to the Ministry of Home Affairs for further consideration.

These include mercy pleas of Mohd Afzal Guru, convicted for attacking Parliament in which nine persons were killed and 16 were injured.

There is now only one mercy petition of Saibanna Ningappa Natikar pending before the President. The Supreme Court had upheld Natikar's death sentence in 2005 who was convicted for killing his wife and daughter. The MHA has sent its recommendation on November 5 to the President's secretariat for decision.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com, December 4, 2012

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