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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…

China sentences two men to death for murder of British monk

Kagyu Samye Ling monastery in Scotland
Kagyu Samye Ling monastery in Scotland
China has sentenced two men to death for killing a British monk who founded Europe’s first Tibetan monastery, state media said.

Chöje Akong Tulku Rinpoche, co-founder of Scotland’s Kagyu Samye Ling monastery near Langholm, in Dumfries and Galloway, was found dead with multiple stab wounds at his home in the south-western city of Chengdu in 2013.

A court in the city sentenced two men, named in Chinese as Tudeng Gusang and Tsering Banjue, to death for the murders of Akong Rinpoche and two other men, while an accomplice was sentenced to three years in jail, the state-run China News Service reported late on Sunday.

It cited authorities as saying that Gusang, who had worked at the Scottish monastery, and Banjue had stabbed Akong Rinpoche, his nephew and a driver to death in a dispute over a 2.7m yuan (£286,000) payment.

The verdict, posted by the court on social media, said the murders were “brutal” and that the suspects would be “treated severely in accordance with the law”.

Britain said in a statement that it communicated its opposition to the death penalty to Beijing.

Akong Rinpoche, who was in his early 70s, took British citizenship after fleeing Tibet in 1959, and founded the monastery in 1967. He had the title of Rinpoche, an honorific given to the most respected teachers in Tibetan Buddhism, and his community said at the time of his killing that he had been “assassinated”.


Source: The Guardian, Agence France-Presse, Feb 1, 2016

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