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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…

Notorious killer on California's death row found unconscious in cell, dies

Gilbert Rubio
Gilbert Rubio
A notorious killer on San Quentin's death row died after being found unconscious in his cell early Thursday, prison officials said.

The Marin County coroner will now work to determine how 55-year-old Gilbert Rubio died after correctional officers found him unresponsive during a security check just after 6 a.m.

Rubio was sentenced to die on Sept. 20, 2000 for the 1998 murder and robbery of high school vice principal George "Skipper" Blackwell in his Long Beach home.

He was convicted of 1st-degree murder with the special circumstance of robbery and burglary by a Los Angeles County jury.

Rubio and 2 others, 59-year-old Monica Chavez and Alex Vega, 61, robbed and bound Blackwell during a home-invasion robbery on Jan. 12, 1998.

During the robbery, Chavez and Vega left the home to cash a $2,000 check written by Blackwell. When his 2 accomplices left, Rubio shot and killed his victim.

Chavez was sentenced to life without parole and remains incarcerated at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. Vega was sentenced to life without parole and remains locked up at the California State Prison in Corcoran.

Avoiding execution by perishing from other means is all but certain in San Quentin, the state's only death row.

Since the Legislature re-enacted the death penalty in 1978, 13 inmates have been executed while more than 100 have died from other means.

No one has been executed at the prison for nearly a decade after U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose ruled the state's protocol for capital punishment was badly flawed.

There are 747 people on California's death row.

Source: sfgate.com, June 17, 2016

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