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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…

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turns down John Battaglia's clemency petition

John Battaglia
John Battaglia
HUNTSVILLE — The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has turned down a clemency petition from a Dallas man set to die this week for fatally shooting his two young daughters nearly 15 years ago.

Board spokesman Raymond Estrada says the board voted 7-0 Monday, refusing to recommend that John David Battaglia’s death sentence be commuted to life in prison and denying his request for a reprieve from his scheduled Wednesday evening execution in Huntsville.

Battaglia, 60, was convicted and condemned for the May 2001 slayings of his daughters, 9-year-old Faith and 6-year-old Liberty, at his Dallas apartment. 

The girls’ mother, Battaglia’s ex-wife, was on the phone with him and heard the gunshots and cry of the older daughter.

Battaglia still has appeals in the federal courts seeking to block his punishment.

Source: The Associated Press, March 28, 2016


Fort Worth Man On Death Row Loses Supreme Court Appeal

HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a Fort Worth man on death row for smothering an 89-year-old man and robbing him of some $6,000 12 years ago.

The high court, without comment, ruled Monday in the case of 36-year-old Tilon Carter. His appeals have focused on whether his Tarrant County trial attorneys were deficient and whether faulty instructions were given to trial jurors.

Carter was condemned for the 2004 robbery and slaying of James Tomlin. Evidence showed Tomlin, a retired Bell Helicopter worker, kept cash in containers scattered around his home.

Prosecutors portrayed Carter as a longtime criminal and also tied him to a fatal shooting at a drug house.

He does not yet have an execution date.

Source: The Associated Press, March 28, 2016

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