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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…

Russian drug smuggler escapes death penalty in Indonesia

Russian national Aleksandra Magnaeva
Russian national Aleksandra Magnaeva
A Russian woman who smuggled drugs into Indonesia was sentenced to 16 years and six months jail on Monday, escaping the death penalty just weeks after seven foreign nationals including two Australians were executed for trafficking narcotics.

Aleksandra Magnaeva, 26, was arrested in December after arriving in Bali on a flight from Hong Kong with 2.1 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine stashed in her bags.

"If uncaught, the defendant's action could have endangered thousands of Indonesian youths," judge Wayan Sukanila told the Denpasar District Court, adding the sentence was more lenient because she had shown remorse for her crimes.

Under Indonesia law, the maximum penalty for drug trafficking is death.

During questioning Magnaeva said her boyfriend - with whom she had been living in China - had instructed her to pass the drugs to someone in Bali.

The Russian said she had brought the drugs overland from mainland China to Hong Kong, and claimed it was her first time smuggling drugs into Bali.

Indonesia enforces some of the stiffest penalties for drug trafficking in the world, including life imprisonment and death.

Foreigners are frequently arrested for attempting to smuggle narcotics into the resort island of Bali, and some have been handed the death sentence.

This month Indonesia put to death Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan as well as a Brazilian and four Nigerians despite an international outcry over the executions.

Source: Agence France-Presse, May 11, 2015

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