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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…

Gov. Pete Ricketts confident executions will happen for men on Nebraska death row

LINCOLN — If Nebraska succeeds in importing the $54,400 in lethal injection drugs it ordered from India, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Thursday he’s confident he won’t need to seek a refund.

During an interview Thursday on “The Bottom Line,” The World-Herald’s Internet radio broadcast, the governor was asked what happens to the state funds if the death penalty repeal ultimately remains in effect. Death penalty supporters are collecting signatures in an effort to let voters decide the fate of capital punishment in 2016.

“Would we then be able to sell it back to the people who sold it to us?” host Mike’l Severe asked. “Would we get our money back?”

The governor, a major contributor to the petition drive, said the state will need the drugs for the 10 men on death row, regardless of the drive’s outcome.

“The Legislature actually doesn’t have the authority to go back and change sentences that have already occurred,” he said. “We’re still working under the premise that we’re going to continue to carry out the sentences for the inmates we have.”

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, the chief sponsor of the law, has said that while the Legislature cannot change the death sentences of those already on death row, the repeal removed the statutory means for conducting an execution. That, he has said, leaves the death row inmates with a sentence that can’t be carried out.

The state has not yet imported the drugs it bought in May from a broker in India. An official with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said one of the two drugs Nebraska purchased can’t legally be imported.

Ricketts said Thursday that state officials remain in discussions with the Drug Enforcement Administration to get the drugs shipped. He offered no timeline, however, on when the drugs could arrive.


Source: omaha.com, August 7, 2015

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