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…

Sister Helen Prejean: Richard Glossip is running out of time...

Richard Glossip with Sister Helen Prejean
Richard Glossip with Sister Helen Prejean
Richard Glossip is scheduled to die at 3pm this Wednesday. Time is short, but I have not given up hope and I urge you to do the same. So many good people are working around the clock to help save Richard. While he lives and breathes, there is still a chance we can persuade Governor Mary Fallin that she really does not want this man's death on her conscience.

What can we do to help prevent this execution? At this stage, although our options may be limited there are still things we can do, and please know that while you are acting so, too, are his dedicated, experienced pro bono lawyers. Richard and his legal team have had their spirits buoyed by the actions of people like you who have phoned, posted, tweeted and written. You have no idea how important even a small show of support can be!


Richard’s family, friends and supporters will be meeting at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City on Tuesday September 15, at 11:30am to protest his execution. They will meet at the Ten Commandments Monument, on the northeast corner of the State Capitol. The rally will be followed by a sit-in in the Governor’s office, Room 212, at 1 p.m. Please come along and show your support. 


Governor Mary Fallin has the power to stay Richard's execution. Some people have reported that the Governor's staff have replied tersely that Richard has received a fair trial and the execution will proceed, so we have created a list of very short talking points you can use to make your call count. Please choose any one of these and phone the governor today - even if you have called before. Please keep your call courteous and to the point. 

Oklahoma City (Main) Office:

Phone: (405) 521-2342
Fax: (405) 521-3353

Tulsa (Satellite) Office: 

Phone: (918) 581-2801
Fax: (918) 581-2835 

If you live in Oklahoma, please state that at the beginning of your call! 
  • Did you know that Richard Glossip’s trial was found unconstitutional because his legal defense was so poor? The second trial wasn’t much better. His public defenders were underfunded, they failed to present crucial videotape evidence and they failed to thoroughly cross-examine the medical examiner. Please give Richard Glossip a 60-day stay. 

  • Oklahoma City police used tried-and-true methods to gain a false confession and statements during their interrogation of Justin Sneed. Have you watched the videotape of the interrogation? Please give Richard Glossip a 60-day stay. 

  • Jurors say the medical examiner’s testimony was crucial in their vote on Richard Glossip’s guilt, but now it has been shown that the evidence the examiner gave in the two trials was contradictory and also contradicted the autopsy report. Please give Richard Glossip a stay so his lawyers can investigate this further. 

  • Do you really have faith in the findings by the office of the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner as you now say? If so, why did you sign the Chanda Turner Reform Act in 2011, which allows people to sue the Medical Examiner for false findings. Did you know such false findings were a widespread problem around the time Barry Van Treese was killed by Justin Sneed? 

  • Why do you find Justin Sneed, an admitted murderer and drug addict, trustworthy? Which of his eight stories about the murder do you believe? Sneed’s own mother doesn’t believe him. Can you really send a man to his death based on Sneed’s word? Please give Richard Glossip a stay. 

  • Even jurors who originally sentenced Richard Glossip to death want this execution stopped. If they have changed their minds based on newly emerging information shouldn’t this information come before a court? Give Richard a stay so his lawyers have time to investigate and present it. 

  • Ten people have been exonerated from death row in Oklahoma. Four of those exonerations were based on false “snitch” testimony. Richard Glossip could be the fifth. Please don’t let him die on your watch. 

  • You can never reverse a mistaken execution and there is plenty of doubt about Richard Glossip’s guilt. How will you feel when it comes out later that Richard Glossip was innocent but you executed him anyway? 

  • You are the last state official with the power to stop this execution. No one can do it but you. Please give Richard Glossip a 60-day stay. 


Governor Fallin insists that Richard had a fair trial and that she cannot overturn the verdict of the jurors nor the independent Pardons and Parole Board. It is important that we get the word out that his "fair trial" was anything but fair and that the "independent" Pardons and Parole Board is a hand-picked board consisting primarily of ex-prosecutors and judges.

Please arm yourself with as much information as you can and share that information with others.

Get informed: We have talking points, videos of Richard's lawyers, and links to articles on our website page dedicated to Richard.

Become an ambassador for Richard's cause. Retweet our tweets, share our Facebook posts, forward this newsletter, and tell people about the website sisterhelen.org/richard - we've made the address short and memorable for easy sharing.

Even at this late stage it is not too late to get the word out! 


We don't know whether we can save Richard's life, but Richard himself has said that if he is to die on Wednesday, he hopes his case and the symphony of protest it has aroused will help propel the campaign to end the death penalty in the United States closer to its goal.

Whether Richard dies or not, you can keep his voice alive and the momentum for abolition going by joining your state coalition. If you live in one of the states that has already abolished the death penalty, join the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP).

You'll find a list of state-based groups on the NCADP's website.

Source: Ministry Against the Death Penalty, Sr. Helen Prejean, Sept. 14, 2015

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

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