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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…

SC police shooting: Michael Slager could not face the death penalty if convicted

Michael Slager Charged With Murder of Walter Scott in South Carolina
Police Officer Michael Slager Charged With Murder
of Walter Scott in South Carolina, USA.
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A wake was held Friday in South Carolina for Walter Scott, who was shot and killed last Saturday by North Charleston police officer Michael Slager. His funeral will be Saturday.

Now fired and charged with murder, Slager remains at the Charleston County Detention Center, awaiting a bond hearing. His attorney says the ex-cop is being held in an isolation unit, for his own protection.

On Friday, Slager's wife Jamie -- who is eight-and-a-half-months pregnant -- and his mother, Karen Sharpe, were able to see him for the first time since he was charged. Sharpe told CBS News she's worried.

"He's a wonderful person, he's very sharing, very caring. He and his wife are having a baby very shortly," Sharpe said.

When she first heard that Slager was going to be charged with murder, Sharpe said, she couldn't believe it.

"I was shocked, just -- just shocked," Sharpe said. "I couldn't imagine this of Michael."

Meanwhile, a new complaint was filed Friday against Slager and two other officers for a traffic stop in August 2014.

The complaint alleges Slager yelled "Watch out, I'm going to Tase," then used his Taser on the driver, who was already restrained. Messages left for police and Slager's lawyer seeking comment were not returned.

Investigators met Friday with the man who was in the car with Scott Saturday morning when Slager pulled him over. The man told investigators he did not want them to reveal his identity.

During the initial traffic stop, Scott told Slager he had just purchased the Mercedes the officer had pulled over.

Dennis Nye, Scott's boss, corroborated that story. He told CBS News that Scott, a forklift driver at his warehouse, gave him a ride and said he had just bought it from a neighbor.

"He said he just got engaged and he's about to get married to his longtime girlfriend," Nye said. "He said he was happy and he was ready to settle down."

Earlier this week, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Slager could face the death penalty if convicted on murder charges.

CBS News researchers discovered in South Carolina, the death penalty may be imposed only if there is an aggravating circumstance -- if, for instance, the victim was a child, or the murder happened during a robbery.

It appears, in this case, the maximum penalty is life without parole.


Source: CBS News, April 10, 2015

Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com

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