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…

India: Contractor sentenced to death for setting ablaze 3 workers

A local court today sentenced a contractor from Tamil Nadu to death for killing 6 of his workers by setting them on fire in their room here 6 years ago, holding that it would fall in the category of "rarest of rare" case.

Thomas Alva Edison (28) from Tuticorin district in Tamil Nadu killed 3 of his workers- Dassi, Vijay and Suresh - in February, 2009 for monetary gain of avoiding paying wage arrears due to them, according to the prosecution.

Andrews, another person, also from the neighbouring state, survived the murder attempt.

Awarding the capital punishment, Additional Sessions Judge E M Muhammad Ibrahim found that the "multiple murder" committed by the convict would come within the category of "rarest of rare" case which warranted death penalty as argued by the Additional Public Prosecutor.

The court said that going by materials available on record, "it is clear that the accused has committed multiple murder with deliberate intention and this is a gravest case of extreme culpability."

"The accused is a threat to the society as he used to create problem wherever he works," the judge said.

Though Edison was an young man of 24 years as on the date of offence, the court said the three deceased persons were younger than him or in the same age group.

They were roasted alive and they succumbed to burn injuries while another young man, who survived, suffered more than 65 % burns, the court said.

The court said it was clear from the available evidence that the multiple murder was "premeditated, diabolic and a planned one" and committed in an extremely brutal manner.

His lawyer K P Madhu said an appeal will be filed against the verdict in the Kerala High Court soon.

Source: Press Trust of India, October 14, 2015

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