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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…

Ohio: Mother of death row inmate dies after his failed attempts to give her a kidney

Ronald Phillips
Ronald Phillips
The mother of a death row inmate has died after attempts by the inmate to donate his kidney to save her life.

Donna Phillips of Akron died Jan. 11 at age 68. Her son, Ronald Phillips, 42, is next on the list of Ohio death row inmates to die by lethal injection. His execution is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2017, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

The convicted murderer grabbed national headlines in 2014 after the state blocked him from donating his kidney to his ailing mother.

The state had given Phillips a deadline to donate his organ, and he did not meet the deadline.

Ronald Phillips was convicted in Akron of raping and killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in 1993, when he was 19 years old.

A spokesperson for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Phillips will not be permitted to attend his mother’s funeral.

“Death row inmates are not eligible for funeral visits,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Phillips’ execution had been delayed so the state could allow him the time to donate his organ. His execution was then put on hold on Jan. 16, 2014, the day of the botched lethal injection death of Ohio convict Dennis McGuire. In that case, McGuire struggled and gasped for several minutes before dying after he was injected with a combination of drugs used for the first time anywhere in the United States.

Phillips had fought in court for decades to block his execution. His attorneys argued he should not be put to death because his upbringing led him to believe violent behavior was acceptable and normal. He accused his late father, William Phillips Sr., of sexually, physically and verbally abusing him repeatedly during his childhood.

Source: ohio.com, Nick Glunt, Beacon Journal staff writer, January 18, 2016

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