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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…

'Our plan is to proceed with the executions,' Ricketts says of 10 men on death row

Governor Pete Ricketts
LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts said Friday that despite the repeal of Nebraska’s death penalty, the state will not cancel its order for new drugs to carry out a lethal injection execution.

Ricketts said he agrees with the state attorney general that Nebraska, once it receives the drugs, should be able to execute the 10 men currently on death row.


"Our plan is to proceed with the executions," the governor said, at a press conference marking the end of the 2015 legislative session.

Ricketts said he had no timetable for when the lethal injection drugs purchased by the state from a broker in India will arrive in Nebraska.

Under Legislative Bill 268, the death penalty would be repealed, effective in three months, and replaced by life in prison.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, the chief sponsor of the law, said that while the Legislature cannot change the death sentences of those already on death row, LB 268 removed the statutory means for conducting an execution.

That, he said, leaves the 10 men on death row with a death sentence, but no way to carry it out.

The Attorney General’s Office earlier had generally agreed with that analysis, but on Friday, Attorney General Doug Peterson said that upon further review of court cases, he believes there remains a legal controversy over what happens to the 10.


Source: Omaha.com, Paul Hammel, May 29, 2015

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