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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…

Japan: Death-row inmate hanged for 2007 murder

Main gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
TOKYO — A man convicted of murdering a woman in 2007 in Nagoya was executed on Thursday morning, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said.

It was the first execution that Kamikawa has signed off on since becoming justice minister and the 12th since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December 2012.

Tsukasa Kanda, 44, was convicted along with accomplices Yoshimoto Hori and Yuichiro Hondo of killing 31-year-old Rie Isogai on Aug 24, 2007, in Aichi Prefecture. 

The men, who met on a website set up to bring “crime-minded” people together, were convicted of abducting Isogai with the intention of robbing her. They then killed her to prevent her from testifying against them.

Kanda and Hori were sentenced to death. Kawagishi received a life prison term in return for having turned himself in and providing evidence that aided the police investigation. Hori’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison, following an appeal.

The case took an unusual turn when Isogai’s mother drew up a petition for the death penalty for Hori, that was signed by 100,000 citizens within 10 days. She presented the petition with some 150,000 names to the District Public Prosecutor’s Office of Nagoya. The number increased to 318,000 by December 2008. However, the Supreme Court rejected the request.

Source: Japan Today, June 25, 2015

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