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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…

Kenya: Debate on abolishing death sentence resumes in 28 counties

Power of Mercy Advisory Committee vice chairperson Regina Boisabi, Prisons boss Muriithi Githaiga and POMAC chief executive Michael Kagika
Power of Mercy Advisory Committee vice chairperson Regina Boisabi,
Prisons boss Muriithi Githaiga and POMAC chief executive Michael Kagika.
The Power of Mercy Advisory Committee will on Wednesday continue collecting views on whether the death penalty and life imprisonment should be abolished.

CEO Michael Kagika said in a statement that findings will be documented and recommendations drawn from citizens' opinions.

“The debate provides a platform for Kenyans to express their opinions on capital offences and what forms of punishment capital offenders should be subjected to,” he said.

“At present, there are approximately 3,000 convicts who have been handed the death sentence. Out of this number, only 300 criminal offenders have gone through the appeal process in court and can therefore be said to be on death row."

There are currently five crimes classified as capital offences. Murder, treason, robbery with violence, attempted robbery with violence and oathing for criminal activities by proscribed groups including terrorists attract the death penalty upon conviction.

POMAC, through meetings held meetings in 19 counties since June, found majority of Kenyans want the death sentence abolished and life imprisonment reviewed.

Kagika said public discussions led by the committee and the National Crime Research Centre will be held in the next two months in the remaining 28 counties.

The agency has partnered with stakeholders including county governments, the Kenya Prisons Service, the ODPP and the judiciary to collect views.

The church and other faith-based organisations, women, youth, village elders, media, civil society, persons with disabilities, the business community and prisoners were encouraged to participate.

The committee will visit Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Nyandarua, Samburu, Murang’a, Kiambu, Garissa, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga, Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet.

Others are Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Marsabit, Isiolo, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Turkana, Mandera, Wajir, and Nairobi.

Source: The Star, Joseph Ndunda, September 13, 2016

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