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…

Colorado: Death penalty trial begins in Denver bar killings

Dexter Lewis
Dexter Lewis
Opening statements began Monday in the murder trial of Dexter Lewis, who is charged with stabbing 5 people to death in a Denver bar, marking the start of a rare death penalty case in Denver.

It's the 1st time Denver prosecutors have tried a death penalty case since 2001, and the 1st time District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has sought to execute a defendant since he was sworn in in 2005.

A jury was chosen last week out of a pool of nearly 600 people, the Denver Post reported.

Lewis, 25, is charged with killing 5 people inside Fero's Bar & Grill on South Colorado Boulevard in October 2012. 2 co-defendants, brothers Lynell and Joseph Hill, pleaded guilty to the killings in July 2013.

Joseph Hill pleaded guilty to 5 counts of 1st-degree felony murder, and his brother pleaded guilty to 2 counts of 2nd-degree murder and arson.

The victims included 53-year-old Young Suk Fero, an Aurora woman who owned the bar; Daria M. Pohl, 21, of Denver; Kellene Fallon, 44, of Denver; Ross Richter, 29, of Overland Park, Kansas; and Tereasa Beesley, 45, of Denver.

Lewis also is charged with trying to hire a former prison cellmate to kill several witnesses who were expected to testify against him.

The last time a Denver jury chose to execute someone was in 1986, when Frank Rodriguez was convicted in the rape and murder of Lorraine Martelli.

Colorado has 3 men on death row, but the state has not executed anyone since 1997.

In 2013, Gov. John Hickenlooper granted an indefinite reprieve to death row inmate Nathan Dunlap, essentially putting a hold on executions while he is governor.

Source: Associated Press, July 21, 2015

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

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