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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…

UAE: Two brothers sentenced to death for killing brother-in-law

Dubai courts
Dubai: Two brothers have been sentenced to death for killing their brother-in-law by choking him with a plastic rope after he married their sister without the family’s consent.

A Pakistani man, F.A., who remains at large, lured his countryman brother-in-law, M.T., to discuss their family dispute in November 2014.

F.A. convinced the victim to meet him in a sandy area in Bur Dubai where he beat him before strangling him with a plastic rope and fled the country shortly after the incident, said records.

The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted F.A. of premeditated murder and his younger brother, 26-year-old I.A., was found guilty of aiding and abetting.

Presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi handed the two accused the death sentence.

When he defended himself in court, I.A. pleaded innocent and contended that he was not present in the area where the murder happened.

“I was at work and did not participate in the crime …,” the younger brother told the court.

Court records said F.A. was the one who had plotted to kill M.T. and brought a plastic rope for the purpose of getting rid of his brother-in-law.

I.A. aided his brother by encouraging him to take revenge on the victim for marrying their sister against the family’s wishes.

A police lieutenant testified that the victim’s boss reported to Dubai Police’s operations room that M.T. had not returned the taxi to the company.

“The boss said M.T. went out on his shift as normal but did not return on time. The boss claimed that despite having repeatedly called the victim, he did not answer his phone. We tracked down the car’s location in the sandy area and discovered that he had been killed. Upon questioning the victim’s brother, he said he suspected that F.A. and I.A. must have been involved in M.T.’s killing. The deceased’s brother said that they had a family dispute after M.T. married the brothers’ sister against their wishes. The victim’s brother claimed that M.T. informed him that F.A. had called him the day before the incident and asked to meet him in Satwa to resolve the dispute. The brother said on the same day M.T. did not answer his phone despite having called him several times.

“Primary interrogations revealed that the defendant was involved in the victim’s murder. Immigration records showed that F.A. had fled the country six hours before the murder was discovered. Shortly after that police apprehended I.A., who admitted that the family had agreed to kill M.T. in Pakistan. The 26-year-old defendant said during questioning that he warned his elder brother not to take a hasty decision and kill the victim in the UAE. I.A. said his brother killed their brother-in-law without his knowledge,” testified the lieutenant.

Wednesday’s rulings remains subject to appeal within 15 days.

Source: Gulf News, September 28, 2016

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