Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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…

Jakarta: Coffee Murder Suspect Jessica Sentenced to 20 Years

Jessica Wongso sits in court next to her lawyer
Jessica Wongso sits in court next to her lawyer.
Jakarta. High-profile coffee murder suspect Jessica Kumala Wongso was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Central Jakarta District Court on Thursday (27/10) for the premeditated murder of 27-year-old Wayan Mirna Salihin.

Presiding judge Kisworo found Jessica guilty of killing her friend Mirna by spiking her coffee with cyanide at a café in the upmarket Grand Indonesia shopping mall in Central Jakarta in January this year.

The sentence met the prosecutors' demand of 20 years' imprisonment.

Jessica's lawyer, Otto Hasibuan, said his client will appeal the verdict.

"We are disappointed with the verdict, since the panel of judges did not take our evidence into account," Otto said.

Prosecutors accused Jessica of intentionally killing Mirna over a personal dispute dating back to June 2015, when they were both students at Billy Blue College in Sydney, Australia.

Prosecutors provided at least 80 pieces of evidence, including testimony from experts, who concluded that Mirna died from cyanide that was added to coffee purchased by Jessica.

However, Otto maintains that there is no evidence proving that it was Jessica who added the poison to the coffee.

Source: Jakarta Globe, October 27, 2016

Judges sentence Jessica to 20 years in prison

Judges at the Central Jakarta District Court sentenced murder suspect Jessica Kumala Wongso to 20 years in prison on Thursday after finding her guilty of murdering Wayan Mirna Salihin by putting cyanide poison into Mirna’s coffee on Jan. 6 at Olivier in Grand Indonesia, Central Jakarta.

The court hearing was presided over by judge Kisworo.

In line with the indictment, the judges concluded that Jessica murdered Mirna in revenge for repeatedly telling Jessica to break up with Patrick O'Connor, her former Australian boyfriend.

According to the indictment, Mirna advised Jessica to break up with Patrick because he was a violent drug user with economic difficulties. Mirna’s advice, according to prosecutors, offended Jessica.

Jessica was named a suspect on Jan. 29.

Soccer-like atmosphere and bursts of deranged mysticism

The judges on the Central Jakarta District Court handed down their sentence to Jessica Kumala Wongso after finding her guilty of murdering Wayan Mira Salihin. But it appears that there are still many untold stories from inside the courtroom that people want to know about.

First, the trial seemed akin to a soccer match, with opposing teams of spectators during the trial.

The spectators did not only come from Jakarta, but also Bandung and even Manado, North Sulawesi.

Kemayoran Police subprecinct head Com. Adri Desas Furyanto said he had to carefully arrange the seats in the court to prevent possible clashes among the spectators.

“Jessica's supporters were directed to sit on the right side while Mirna's supporters were directed to sit on the left side of the court,” said Adri, adding that this was based on an order from the judges.

Many of the spectators, some of whom brought along various kinds of instruments, looked serious while following the words of the judges, particularly during the last part of the verdict.

"We want her to be sentenced to life. If she gets out of prison, she may attack other members of Mirna's family," said Hana, 20, commenting on Jessica’s sentence.

Hana, who is a law student, visited the court with two of her friends, Mutia and Monica.

Meanwhile, Elska, a visitor from Bandung, West Java, had a different opinion. She said the verdict was unfair.

“The judges just copied the prosecutors' indictment. I hope the judges on the higher courts will have compassion and release Jessica because there is no evidence," she said, referring to the decision from Jessica's camp to file an appeal.

Meanwhile, a female spectator named Elly, who traveled to Jakarta from Manado, North Sulawesi, collapsed at the court when the judges handed down their verdict. She then moved convulsively and talked in a distorted manner.

When she was conscious, Elly said she felt that a beautiful lady, who she believed to be Mirna, had tried to permeate her body from the beginning of the trial.

According to Elly, the infiltration of Mirna into her body finally happened when the judges handed down their verdict.

“Before it happened, Mirna’s soul tried to enter my body on three occasions. But when I collapsed, I was totally unconscious, but a lady sitting next to me told me that I was smiling,” she said as reported by tribunnews.com, adding that she seriously believed it was Mirna’s soul that had entered her body.

Source: Jakarta Globe, October 28, 2016

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