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…

Bali nine pair executions days away with final legal hurdle to be cleared Monday

The port at Cilacap, Java, where boats leave for Nusakambangan Island.
The last legal hurdle preventing the death of Bali nine organisers Myuran Sukumaran​ and Andrew Chan and eight other drug felons will be resolved on Monday.

Indonesian Attorney-General spokesman Tony Spontana said the date of the execution would be set once the outcome of the appeal by Indonesian marijuana trafficker Zainal Abidin was known.

Supreme Court spokesman Suhadi told Fairfax Media the panel of judges would convene on Monday and make their ruling on Abidin's judicial review request.

"If Zainal's appeal is rejected, it will complete the [appeals of] the inmates," Mr Spontana said.

He said the embassies had been notified because Indonesia was entering the execution stage.

Mr Spontana said the prisoners would be given at least three days' notice before they are shot by firing squad on the remote penal island of Nusakambangan in Java.

"The theme of the executions will be the war on drugs," Mr Spontana said.

Filipina maid Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso was the last prisoner facing imminent execution to be transferred to Nusakambangan on Friday.

Tragically, she missed seeing her children, who flew into Yogyakarta on Friday, by a matter of hours.

Her two sons, Mark Darren and Mark Daniel, had earlier released a heartbreaking video to Indonesian president Joko Widodo​'s 19-year-old son begging for their mother's life.

Prosecutors, who under Indonesian law are required to be present at executions, were also travelling to Cilacap on Friday in a further sign the executions are just days away.

The families of the condemned Australians have not abandoned hope there will be a stay of execution as they scramble to get to Central Java to see the pair.

"I can't believe this is it. We still haven't given up hope," said Chinthu Sukumaran, Myuran's brother.

Andrew Chan's brother, Michael, is also planning to leave with family and supporters on Saturday.

"I just want to go over and see how he is," said Michael.

Bali nine member Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, serving life imprisonment in Malang Prison in East Java, told Fairfax Media he was speechless and "really really sad".

Although several prisoners, including Sukumaran and Chan, still have legal processes under way, the Attorney-General's Office says all but Abidin have exhausted their legal avenues.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Jewel Topsfield, April 24, 2015

Australia To Receive Notice Of Execution Plans But Not Timing

The Australian embassy will receive a notice of Indonesia’s plans to execute Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ring leaders of the Bali Nine group, on Saturday, but the timing will not be revealed, local media reports said Friday. Families of the foreign drug convicts on death row were headed to Indonesia before the scheduled executions by firing squad.

The Indonesian government reportedly provides 72 hours' notice to the convicts, their families, lawyers and governments before the executions. The date of the executions has not yet been announced. A meeting of all foreign embassies of countries whose nationals are among those awaiting execution -- which include Australia, Brazil, Nigeria, France and the Philippines -- is scheduled for Saturday, and indicates the beginning of the execution process.

"It can be three days, it can be more," Tony Spontana, spokesman for Indonesia’s attorney general, said of the notice period, according to Sky News. "We're only telling them that they are entering the stages of execution." 

Indonesian prosecutors were instructed Thursday to officially begin preparing to execute Chan and Sukumaran, convicted in 2006 for trying to smuggle $4 million worth of heroin out of Indonesia. 

Authorities said that security at the prison island of Nusakambangan off the Javanese port of Cilacap, where the executions will take place, was heightened on Friday, according to Reuters.

Source: International Business Times, Suman Varandani, April 24, 2015

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