Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

Texans will have an opportunity to revisit a question that should haunt anyone who believes in the integrity of our criminal justice system: Did our state execute an innocent man? 
The new film “Trial by Fire” tells the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was sentenced to death for setting a fire to his home in Corsicana that killed his three young daughters in 1991. The film is based on an investigative story by David Grann that appeared in the New Yorker in 2009, five years after Willingham was executed over his vociferous protestations of innocence.
In my experience of serving 8 years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and 4 years as a state district judge in Travis County, the Willingham case stands out to me for many of the same reasons it stood out to filmmaker Edward Zwick, who calls it a veritable catalogue of everything that’s wrong with the criminal justice system and, especially, the death penalty. False testimony, junk science, a jailhouse informant, and ineffe…

Kansas: Jurors recommend death sentence for white supremacist

Frazier Glenn Miller Jr.
Frazier Glenn Miller Jr.
Jurors recommended a death sentence Tuesday for the white supremacist who fatally shot three people at Jewish sites in Kansas last year.

The jury convicted 74-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller Jr last week of capital murder for the April 2014 shootings. The judge overseeing the trial will now decide whether to follow the jury’s sentencing recommendation.

Miller, who raised his arm in a Nazi salute after he was convicted, represented himself at the six-day trial. When presenting his defense, the Missouri man said prosecutors had “a slam dunk”. He then told the jurors: “You guys are going to put me on death row. We all know that.”

Miller admitted to killing William Corporon, 69, and Corporon’s 14-year-old grandson Reat Griffin Underwood at the Jewish community center in Overland Park. He also said he shot Terri LaManno, 53, shortly afterward at the nearby Village Shalom retirement center. None of the victims was Jewish.

In a rambling, hour-long closing argument earlier Tuesday, Miller touched on the media, white supremacism and his health. He concluded by telling the jury he didn’t care what sentence they handed down.

“Frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn,” he said, and again raised his right arm in the Nazi salute.

Miller has said he was suffering from chronic emphysema and wanted to kill Jewish people before he died. A doctor testified during trial that Miller likely had five to six years left to live.

Among Miller’s witnesses was his 39-year-old son, Frazier Glenn Miller III, who testified he doesn’t know where his father learned about “hating Jews and about hating other races”.

Miller, a Vietnam war veteran, founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party. He also ran for the US House in 2006 and the US Senate in 2010 in Missouri, each time espousing a white-power platform.

Kansas has not executed a death row inmate since reinstating the death penalty in 1994.

Source: The Guardian, Sept. 8, 2015

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