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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…

SC: Johnny Bennett, sentenced to death by an all-white jury despite undisputed evidence of racial bias

Johnny Bennett
Johnny Bennett
Columbia, S.C. - Below is a brief (4'12") film which illuminates the shocking racial injustice that permeates the capital sentencing system in the state of South Carolina and highlights those injustices specifically in the case of death row inmate Johnny Bennett.

On June 15th, 2016, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson appealed a decision granting a new sentencing hearing to Justice 360 client Johnny Bennett.

Wilson appealed despite undisputed evidence that racial bias infected the decision to sentence Mr. Bennett to death in 2000.

Mr. Bennett, who is African American, was sentenced to death by an all-white jury in Lexington County, South Carolina.

A juror who sentenced Mr. Bennett to death referred to Mr. Bennett as “just a dumb nigger.” At the sentencing hearing, Solicitor Donald Myers made numerous inflammatory references to Bennett’s race, calling him “King Kong,” a “caveman,” a “beast of burden,” and elicited other racially charged testimony in pursuit of a death sentence.

Myers also intentionally told the jury that Mr. Bennett previously had a white girlfriend, a fact completely irrelevant to the case.

Justice 360 is disappointed that Wilson has decided to defend such blatant racism and continues to relentlessly defend the racist actions that so many in the Palmetto State are striving to lay to rest.

The public and elected leaders in South Carolina have demonstrated that we are ready to put the racist relics of our past behind us, yet Attorney General Wilson continues to defend continued racism in the criminal justice system.

Source: Justice 360, July 7, 2016





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