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…

Roman Coliseum honors Nebraska's repeal of death penalty

Italians celebrated Nebraska abolishing the death penalty Wednesday by lighting up the Coliseum in Rome.
Italians celebrated Nebraska abolishing the death penalty
Wednesday by lighting up the Coliseum in Rome.
The Roman Coliseum, a popular tourist attraction and long ago a site of executions, gladiator contests and spectacles of death, lit up Wednesday night to honor Nebraska's repeal of the death penalty.

The amphitheater in the center of Rome, now a symbol of faith communities in the campaign against capital punishment, was lit as a testimony to a justice system capable of respecting human life and dignity, said Mario Marazziti, president of the Human Rights Committee of the Italian Parliament.

The sudden bathing of the Coliseum in white light -- after a period of complete darkness -- was coordinated by the Catholic lay community Sant'egidio, which has lit the coliseum after each of seven state legislatures repealed the death penalty, said Mona Cadena of Equal Justice USA. It also is lit after countries abolish the death penalty.

Before Nebraska, the Coliseum was lit to honor Maryland's repeal in 2013.

The Community of Sant'egidio advocates ending the death penalty worldwide.

"The death penalty system is broken, can never be perfect, and it always lowers civil society and the state at the level of the killer, creating new victims," Marazziti said in a news release. 

It is hoping for participation this year from a Nebraska delegation, including a bishop and people who fought and campaigned for the repeal, said Carlo Santoro, with the Sant'egidio community.

And they are hoping Gov. Pete Ricketts might change his mind about trying to stop the repeal, and accept that in Nebraska there would be no more executions, he said. 

Ricketts and his father, Joe Ricketts, have contributed the bulk of money, so far, to the Nebraskans for the Death Penalty referendum campaign, which is collecting signatures to stop the repeal from going into effect and force a general election vote on the issue.

Click here to read the full article

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, Joanne Young, July 2, 2015

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