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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…

Singapore: Former cop sentenced to death for double murder

Singapore's Changi Prison
Singapore's Changi Prison
Former cop Iskandar Rahmat was sentenced to death today (Dec 4) for committing the Kovan double murder that shocked the nation more than 2 years ago.

Iskandar, 36, was convicted under Section 300(a), which entails the mandatory death penalty upon conviction, for killing car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin, 67 and his son Chee Heong, 42, at their home in 14J Hillside Drive on July 10, 2013.

He fled to Johor Bahru that night but was arrested at a popular eatery there 2 days later and extradited back to Singapore.

Delivering his verdict to a packed courtroom in the Supreme Court, Justice Tay Yong Kwang said Iskandar's claim of a grab-and-flee plan had involved many contingencies that only a "foolish thief" would carry out.

He also noted the "golden opportunities" where Iskandar could have grabbed the bag of money and fled. Justice Tay said it was unbelievable that Iskandar chose to step out to smoke for 5 minutes instead of looking for a moment to grab the bag.

Justice Tay also pointed out that Iskandar's claim of self-defence was not applicable as he did not believe the elder Tan had attacked Iskandar first.

Over a nine-day trial that started in October, the prosecution told the court that Iskandar had eyed the elder Tan's money to clear a S$60,000 bank debt, which could avert a possible sacking from the police force. As part of the planned robbery, Iskandar had plunged a knife into Tan Boon Sin's neck and face repeatedly and launched a similar assault on the victim's son before reversing the getaway car into the young man.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lau Wing Yum had put up a case that the 14-year veteran in the police force had intended to cause death based on the sheer number of injuries sustained by both victims, along with the nature and location of their wounds, among other things.

Defence lawyers Mr Shashi Nathan, Mr Rajan Subramaniam and Ms N Sudha Nair argued that Iskandar's grab-and-flee robbery plan went awry and he did not intend to kill the 2 victims.

His lawyers also argued that Iskandar's actions were committed in self-defence after he claimed that the elder Tan had attacked him with a knife in hand while the younger victim charged at him.

Mr Nathan had asked the court to convict Iskandar under Section 300(c) of the Penal Code instead, where murder is committed with the intention of causing injury sufficient "in the ordinary cause of nature" to cause death. This gives the court the discretion to sentence the accused to life imprisonment and caning.

Source: todayonline.com, December 4, 2015

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