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…

Taiwan: 6 prisoners executed

June 5, 2015: Six executions were conducted in the evening, one week after the brutal murder of a schoolgirl, media reports said.

Media reported that three death row prisoners in Taipei and one each in Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung faced the firing squad, though the Ministry of Justice failed to confirm reports emerging hours before the event. Shots were heard by reporters waiting outside the Taipei Detention Center at around 5 p.m., the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported. The paper said that the six executions had been completed by 7 p.m.

Justice Minister Lo Ying-shay had signed the orders for the simultaneous executions to be conducted Friday (June 5) evening, cutting the number of death penalty convicts still alive to 42.

The deaths were the first series of executions under Lo’s governance since April 29 last year.

The number of death row convicts fell to 47 at the time, but last September, the Supreme Court issued a death verdict for an arsonist who caused the deaths of five people at a karaoke bar, bringing the total up to 48, reports said.

The media published a list of the six individuals before the executions. It included Huang Chu-wang, who first shot two gangsters and later kidnapped and buried the relative of a rival alive in 1997. He later paid off a prison guard to escape and was found with numerous guns in his possession.

Huang’s relatives filed a special appeal Friday evening, but it was rejected, and he was executed in Taichung, reports said.

The other men reportedly executed Friday included Wang Hsiu-fang, who clubbed his neighbor and her three-year-old daughter to death, Cheng Chin-wen, who killed two debt collectors, Tsao Tien-shou, a taxi driver who raped and killed a 14-year-old girl but was only found out after another crime ten years later, Wang Chun-chin, who killed a taxi driver in a dispute over a fare, and Wang Yu-lung, a Pingtung police officer who killed two women.

The new round of executions comes at a time when the debate about capital punishment fired up again after an intruder stabbed an eight-year-old girl inside the Wenhua Elementary School in Taipei City’s Beitou District on May 29. The pupil died in hospital the following day, dashing hopes she might recover. 

Sources: Taiwan News, Hands Off Cain, June 5, 2015

Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com

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