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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…

Malaysia: Duo on death row fail in appeals

A 27-year-old Filipino labourer will be hanged for murdering a local man in Keningau 7 years ago after losing his final appeal in the Federal Court here on Wednesday.

Justices Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, Tan Sri Ahmad Hj Maarop, Tan Sri Hasan Lah and Dato' Balia Haji Wahi unanimously dismissed Mohd Hussin Abdul Karim's appeal and upheld his conviction and sentence.

The apex court held that they found no merit in the appeal.

Hussin was on April 8, 2011 found guilty by the High Court here of murdering one Kedin Repad, 51, along with an accomplice still at large at 1.30am on May 10, 2009 at the Tamu area in Keningau town.

He was convicted under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the death sentence on conviction.

The Court of Appeal rejected his appeal on July 8, 2014.

Hussin's assigned counsel Hamid Ismail, raised 2 grounds in the appeal, namely, that the element of common intention was not proven and that improper evaluation of Hussin's evidence by the trial judge on common intention was not considered.

Hamid submitted that the trial judge had failed to consider evidence in determining the element of common intention, namely that Hussin and his friends were at the crime scene for a drinking session, Hussin approached Kedin as he wanted to help a waitress, who was scared to give the bill to Kedin as Kedin was drunk and aggressive and that Kedin lied to Hussin and the restaurant by giving an empty envelope as payment.

He added the trial judge failed to consider Hussin's evidence about common intention and that Hussin's evidence would show that he was at the café for a drinking session and he did not ask his two friends to assist him to hit Kedin.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Awang Ahmadajaya submitted that there was common intention as essentially Hussin and his friends wanted to cause injury to Kedin.

He also said that Hussin's attempt to take a manhole metal cover during the incident showed his intention to cause injury to Kedin as the metal cover was heavy.

Meanwhile, a 60-year-old Filipino who was sentenced to death for murdering a man in Tawau failed in his final appeal against his death sentence at the Federal Court.

Justices Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, Tan Sri Ahmad Hj Maarop, Tan Sri Hasan Lah and Dato' Balia Haji Wahi dismissed Wilson Arad's appeal and affirmed his conviction and sentence.

The court held that there was no merit in the appeal and that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Wilson was on Aug 2, 2012 found guilty by the Tawau High Court of killing one Said Alian, 57, along with an accomplice still at large at 4.30pm on Aug 30, 2007 in a house at Jambatan 2, Kg Kurnia Jaya, Mile 4, Jalan Apas, Tawau.

The offence comes under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the death sentence on conviction.

Wilson's appeal to the Court of Appeal was rejected on Sept 9, 2014.

Earlier, assigned counsel Ram Singh representing Wilson submitted among others that there was no investigation carried out inside the house although 3 people emerged from the house.

He said if proper investigation were done by the investigating officer and more blood swabs taken, it could have revealed who actually had killed Said, adding that, the 3 other witnesses, who were seen inside the house, only saw Wilson holding a Rambo knife.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Awang Ahmadajaya rebutted that that there were eye-witnesses who saw Wilson holding the knife and coming out from the house during the incident.

Meanwhile, the apex court struck out the prosecution's appeal against the acquittal of a man from a drug trafficking charge.

The court made the decision after being informed by the prosecution that the respondent, Mohana Dass Velayutham, failed to turn up in court on Wednesday for hearing of the appeal and that the notice of hearing had been served.

DPP Awang also told the court that Wednesday was the 3rd mention date for the appeal.

The prosecution was appealing against the Court of Appeal's decision on Sept 12, 2014 to set aside Mohana Dass Velayutham's conviction and death sentence and to acquit and discharge him of the charge.

Mohana Dass of Kajang, Selangor was on Feb 8, 2012 sentenced to death by the High Court here after he was found guilty of trafficking 4,674.3gm of ketamine at 4.40pm on July 31, 2011 at Terminal Two of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

The offence under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act provides for death penalty on conviction.

Source: The Daily Express, October 27, 2016

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