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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…

Execution dates requested for 2 Miss. inmates; Michelle Byrom would be first female executed by state in 70 years

The state is seeking to set execution dates for two Mississippi death row inmates, one of whom would mark the first time the state put a female prisoner to death since 1944.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed the motions before the state Supreme Court on Monday, requesting dates be set for next month for the executions of Michelle Byrom and Charles Ray Crawford.

Byrom was sentenced to death in Tishomingo County for her involvement in the 1999 slaying of her husband, Edward Louis Byrom Sr. She was convicted for her part in the murder for hire scheme to collect her late husband’s insurance benefits, according to court documents.

Crawford, a Tippah County resident, was convicted for the 1993 slaying of Kristy Ray, a college student. He was also convicted of burglary, rape, sexual battery and kidnapping.

Both inmates had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear their cases, paving the way for the execution dates.

Hood is asking for Crawford’s execution to be set on or before March 26, with Byrom’s date requested be set on or before March 27.

Attorney’s representing Byrom also filed motions before the Mississippi Supreme Court on Monday, requesting appointed counsel and a hearing to discuss claims of constitutional violations.

Source: Clarion Ledger, Feb. 24, 2014

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