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…

Actor, lawyers, religious leaders speak in support of Alabama death row inmate

William Kuenzel
William Kuenzel
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The state of Alabama is holding an innocent man on death row and refuses to hear evidence that might set him free. That, according to lawyers, religious leaders and even a well known actor who spoke at a news conference in Birmingham on Monday morning.

William Kuenzel was sentenced to death for the 1987 robbery and murder of a Sylacauga convenience store clerk. Kuenzel has always maintained his innocence, and two decades later after the murder, new evidence was found that many say would set him free.

In 2012, Kuenzel’s defense team uncovered new evidence that his roommate had a shotgun that could have been used in the killing, and that Kuenzel might not have been at the crime scene.

Monday, a group spoke at a news conference in Birmingham to shed light on the case. Actor Sam Waterston, star of the TV series Law and Order, is among the group that plans to file a friend-of-the-court brief with the Alabama Supreme Court.

“This case isn’t about anybody’s feelings about capital punishment. It’s about an injustice done, being done, continuing to be done to an innocent man and the remedy is not to forget about it but to just look at the facts,” said Waterston.

Waterston previously filmed a movie in support of Kuenzel. He and Kuenzel’s attorneys say crucial evidence was withheld by prosecutors during the trial and was only discovered, by accident, more than two decades after the conviction.

State courts have refused to hear the evidence because Kuenzel’s previous legal team missed the deadline to file the proper appeal.

Last December, the Alabama Supreme Court set Kuenzel’s execution for March 2015. In February, the court granted him a stay until further notice.

In July, Kuenzel lost an appeal before the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. He remains on death row at Holman Prison in Atmore.

Source: WHNT News, Al Whitaker, October 12, 2015

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