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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…

Dylann Roof, Charleston Shooting Suspect, Is Indicted on Federal Hate Crime Charges

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
WASHINGTON — The gunman who killed nine people at a South Carolina church in June plotted his attack for months, choosing his target because it was a nationally known historically black church, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said on Wednesday as she announced federal hate crime charges against him.

The man charged in the case, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, is also accused of killing people while obstructing religious freedom, a charge that carries a possible death sentence, though Ms. Lynch said the Justice Department had not decided whether to seek it.

“He was looking for the type of church and the type of parishioners whose death would in fact draw great notoriety for his racist views,” Ms. Lynch said.

Authorities have linked Mr. Roof to a racist Internet manifesto and said he was in contact with white supremacist groups before his attack on the well-known Emanuel A.M.E. Church, which has hosted many major civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mr. Roof already faces nine counts of murder in state court and could face the death penalty there. But Justice Department and F.B.I. officials have said the Charleston shooting was so horrific and racially motivated that the federal government must address it.


Source: The New York Times, Matt Apuzzo, July 22, 2015

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