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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…

India's SC halts execution of Vikram and Jasbir Singh

The Supreme Court today put on hold till further order the execution of Vikram Singh alias Vicky and Jasbir Singh, both sentenced to death for the kidnapping and murder of Abhi Verma alias Harry, a student of Hoshiarpur's DAV School, in February 2005. 

A 3-member Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra passed the order after hearing arguments on fresh petitions by the 2 convicts, contending that the evidence against them should be re-appreciated in the light of an apex court judgment allowing admissibility of electronic evidence. The Bench, which included Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, reserved its ruling. 

Arguing for Vicky, senior counsel KTS Tulsi said a recorded telephonic conversation pertaining to the ransom demand had confirmed the voice of Jasbir, not of his client, and as such it could not be used against him. He also pleaded that Vicky's fingerprints on a car used for kidnapping Abhi should not be relied upon as it was his car and was supposed to have his fingerprints. Also, there was confusion over the colour of the car identified by witnesses. 

Additional Advocate General V Madhukar and complainant's counsel Abhishek Singh, however, pleaded that there was no apparent error in the verdicts of the Supreme Court, High Court and lower courts and even if the 3 objections raised by the convicts were allowed, other available evidence was sufficient to justify the death penalty. 

The SC had rejected the convicts' appeals, besides their review and curative petitions. Subsequently, the President rejected their mercy pleas, prompting them to approach the SC with new reasons. In Patiala, the jail authorities had made arrangements for executing the death warrants (for October 25) with Meerut jail hangman Pawan reaching the city a few days ago. 

Meanwhile, the Punjab and Haryana HC has deferred till November 3 hearing on a petition for commuting the convicts' death sentence. 

Source: tribuneindia.com, October 25, 2016

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