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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…

Georgia: Execution date set for man convicted in 1998 triple murders

Daniel Lucas
Daniel Lucas
Authorities say an April 27 execution date has been scheduled for a man convicted in the 1998 triple murders of a trucking company owner and his 2 children in Georgia

A late April execution date has been set for man convicted in the 1998 triple murders of a central Georgia trucking company owner and his 2 children, authorities said Thursday.

Daniel Anthony Lucas is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. on April 27 at the state prison in Jackson, said a statement from Commissioner Homer Bryson of the Department of Corrections. Georgia executes inmates using an injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital.

Lucas, 37, received the death sentence in 1999 for the killings of Steven Moss, 37, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kristin, who interrupted a burglary at their home near Macon in central Georgia.

Another man convicted in the murders, Brandon Joseph Rhode, was put to death in September 2010. His execution was delayed by about a week after Rhode tried to kill himself by slashing his arms and throat just hours before he was initially set to be executed.

Lucas and Rhode were searching the Moss home for valuables in April 1998 when Bryan Moss saw them through a front window, and entered through a back door armed with a baseball bat, prosecutors have said. They say the two then wrestled Bryan to a chair and Lucas shot him in the shoulder.

Lucas then led the boy to a bedroom and shot him multiple times, prosecutors have said.

Rhodes met Kristin as she got home from school and forced her to sit on a chair and shot her twice with a pistol, according to court records. Rhode then ambushed Steven Moss when he arrived home, shooting him 4 times with the same pistol. Lucas later shot the 2 children again to make sure they were dead, according to the records.

Moss' wife, Gerri Ann, discovered the bodies when she returned home from work.

Several witnesses saw Rhode's vehicle as the pair fled the house and one of them identified Lucas as the passenger, prosecutors have said. Damage to the vehicle's front and rear bumpers matched damage to a propane tank and a cinder block at the Moss home.

Georgia has already executed 3 inmates this year and a 4th is scheduled to die Tuesday.

Source: Associated Press, April 8, 2016

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