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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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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…

Oklahoma House approves changes to death penalty

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma House has overwhelmingly approved a bill to make the death penalty an option in first-degree murder cases only if the state is seeking it. Current law tells judges to consider the penalty even if the state doesn't ask for it.

The chamber voted 82-10 Tuesday in support of the proposal from Rep. Scott Biggs of Chickasha. It has already passed the Senate and now waits for Gov. Mary Fallin's signature to become law.

Courts currently have hearings after convictions of first-degree murder to consider life in prison, life without parole or death as punishments. Biggs' bill would specify that if the state isn't seeking death but can still show the suspect has a history of felonies, life and life without parole — not death — will be considered.

Source: AP, March 26, 2013

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