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…

Philippine embassy offers aid to maid given death penalty in Al Ain

A maid in Al Ain who was given the death penalty for killing her Emirati employer will launch an appeal against her sentence with the help of the Philippine embassy, senior diplomats said yesterday.

Officials at Manila's Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi have identified the 28-year-old woman as Jennifer Dalquez, from General Santos City, in southern Philippines.

She claimed to have stabbed her employer in self defence because he attempted to rape her.

On May 20, Dalquez was sentenced to death by an Al Ain court for killing her employer on December 7 last year, said Grace Princesa, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE.

"We respect the judicial system of the UAE and have full faith in it," Ms Princesa said. "We are now waiting for a copy of the verdict, and will meet with the lawyer to decide the way forward."

Overseas Filipino workers who find themselves on the wrong side of the law are assisted through the Philippine government's legal assistance fund.

Priority is usually given to the payment of lawyers to represent those accused of serious crimes or who are facing the death penalty.

"The embassy has extended all necessary assistance to Dalquez, including hiring a lawyer," said Charles Jose, the spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila.

"They will assist her in appealing her sentence, and her family has been informed of these developments."

Ms Princesa, who met the mother-of-2 in prison last week, confirmed a lawyer was hired.

"She was arrested on December 12, 5 days after it happened," she said. "Since learning about her case, we've provided her a lawyer, while our embassy officials have visited her in jail and attended the court hearings."

Prosecutors allowed Ms Princesa to meet with Dalquez privately on May 19, apart from the diplomatic visits scheduled every Wednesday.

"The meeting lasted for more than an hour," Ms Princesa said. "She told me that she killed him in self defence. I hugged her and we prayed."

Speaking from General Santos City, Dalquez's mother, Rahima, told a local television network that her daughter stabbed the man using the same knife he pointed at her.

Dalquez has worked and lived in the UAE since 2011, and was due to return home in January.

She joins 88 other Filipino workers who are on death row in China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

Source: The National, May 25, 2015

DFA to assist Pinay on Dubai death row

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday said the Philippine Embassy in Dubai will be assisting a Filipina who had been meted the death penalty there in appealing her case.

Charles Jose, Foreign Affairs spokesman, confirmed in a text message that overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Jennifer Dalquez has been sentenced to death by Dubai's Al Ain trial court for allegedly killing her employer on December 7, 2014.

The sentence was handed down on May 20.

"The embassy has extended all necessary assistance to Dalquez, including hiring a lawyer. The embassy will assist [her in appealing] her sentence," Jose said.

He added that Dalquez's family has been informed of developments in her case.

She is the latest OFW to be sentenced to death.

The DFA earlier said there are 88 Filipinos on death row in various countries, most of them for drug trafficking, including Mary Jane Veloso, who had been lined up for execution in Indonesia last month.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, however, gave Veloso a temporary reprieve at the last minute.

Source: Manila Times, May 25, 2015

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