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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…

Jury for Dylann Roof's federal trial will be chosen from pool of 748 people

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Some 748 prospective jurors in the upcoming Dylann Roof federal death penalty trial have been picked to go on to a second, more intensive, phase of jury screening that will begin Nov. 7.

The 748 who survived the initial screening process this week were picked over a 2 1/2 day period that began Monday in a small federal courtroom in Charleston.

About 3,000 were initially summoned for this week's screening process. Federal Judge Richard Gergel had said he would like to come up with a pool of 700 potential jurors.

This week's screening went faster than expected. By around noon Wednesday, the court had surpassed that goal and wound up with 748 - a number that should be more than enough to produce a final jury panel of 12 jurors and 6 alternates.

Reasons some potential jurors were excused this week included child care or work-related duties.

The 748 who survived the initial screening this week have filled out extensive questionnaires about their lives and any reservations they might have about being deciding on a death penalty, should Roof eventually be found guilty and the trial move on to a sentencing phase.

Between now and Nov. 7, prosecutors and Roof's defense attorneys will study the completed questionnaires. From those, lawyers will develop additional questions and submit them to Gergel, who will then, beginning Nov. 7, question the prospective jurors 1 at a time as attorneys watch and possibly submit more questions.

Roof, 22, a white supremacist from Columbia, is charged with various federal hate crimes and obstruction of religion resulting in death in the June 2015 gun slayings of 9 African-Americans at a Charleston's historic "Mother" AME Emanuel Church.

Source: thestate.com, September 29, 2016

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