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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 halts scheduled July 14 execution pending drug test

Perry Eugene Williams
Perry Eugene Williams
The scheduled July 14 execution of a man convicted in the slaying of a medical student robbed of $40 has been postponed indefinitely.

A Texas prison system spokesman said Wednesday that a state district judge in Houston has withdrawn the execution order for Perry Eugene Williams pending test results for the drugs to be used in his execution.

The case marked the first time a Texas execution has been delayed for that reason, officials said.

Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said while the state has enough drugs to carry out all seven executions scheduled through October, Perry Eugene Williams' execution was delayed because the agency could not get the test results back in time..

Prison officials said the delay was ordered by a Houston court after they alerted it the test results could not be obtained on time.

No further details were given.

Officials said the testing of the dose to be used to execute Williams was agreed to by Texas in June, when U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston dismissed a suit filed by Williams and Thomas Whitaker, another death chamber-bound convict from Houston, who challenged the state's execution process.

Maurie Levin, an attorney representing Williams, said she was puzzled by the state's inability to get the results on time.

"It's a mystery to me how they could not meet the deadline, because no further explanation has been given," she said. "But the bottom line is, this is the problem with the secrecy of the process of executions."

The Texas Attorney General's Office had agreed in a lawsuit filed on Williams' behalf to have the drugs tested before his execution.

Williams is set to die for the 2000 slaying of Baylor College of Medicine student Matthew Carter.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark says the delay doesn't affect the state's next scheduled lethal injection, the Aug. 10 execution of Ramiro Gonzales for the 2001 slaying of an 18-year-old woman in Medina County.

Sources: Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, July 8, 2016

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