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Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

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Texans will have an opportunity to revisit a question that should haunt anyone who believes in the integrity of our criminal justice system: Did our state execute an innocent man? 
The new film “Trial by Fire” tells the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was sentenced to death for setting a fire to his home in Corsicana that killed his three young daughters in 1991. The film is based on an investigative story by David Grann that appeared in the New Yorker in 2009, five years after Willingham was executed over his vociferous protestations of innocence.
In my experience of serving 8 years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and 4 years as a state district judge in Travis County, the Willingham case stands out to me for many of the same reasons it stood out to filmmaker Edward Zwick, who calls it a veritable catalogue of everything that’s wrong with the criminal justice system and, especially, the death penalty. False testimony, junk science, a jailhouse informant, and ineffe…

Saudi who killed wife with axe is beheaded

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh: Saudi authorities beheaded a national on Monday after he was convicted of killing his wife with an axe in front of their daughter, the interior ministry announced.

Mahdi Al Ghabari hit his wife, Shaqraa Al Bahri, several times on her neck with an axe, killing her “in the presence of their little daughter who witnessed” the crime, said the statement published by the official SPA news agency.

He was executed due to the “hideousness” of the crime, said the statement.

The beheading in the southwestern city of Najran raised to 23 the number of executions so far this year in the Gulf state, according to an AFP count based on official reports.

Last year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced a “sharp increase in the use of capital punishment” in Saudi Arabia.

In 2013, there were 78 executions.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict version of sharia law.

Source: Agence France-Presse, August 11, 2014

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