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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…

129 inmates on death row in Japan at end of 2016

Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
TOKYO — The number of death row inmates in Japan in 2016 was 129 on Saturday, a rise of two people from 2015, while continuing to surpass the threshold of 100 since 2007.

Three inmates were executed during the year, while seven people were given the death penalty, the Ministry of Justice told Kyodo News.

Of the total figure, 128 people are officially registered as inmates at detention centers. 

Iwao Hakamada, 80, a former professional boxer convicted in the murder of four people in 1966, was released in 2014 after a court decided to open a retrial.

Yasutoshi Kamata, 75, who was convicted of murdering a 9-year-old girl in Osaka and four women between 1985 and 1994, was put to death in March. 

Junko Yoshida, 56, a former nurse who masterminded two murders for insurance money in 1998 and 1999 in Fukuoka Prefecture, was also executed in March.

In November, Kenichi Tajiri, 45, who killed two women in two murder-robbery cases in 2004 and 2011 in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan, was hanged, according to the ministry.

The seven people newly sentenced to death last year include 25-year-old Yutaro Chiba, who in July became the first to be given capital punishment under the lay judge trial system for a crime committed by a teenager. 

Chiba was convicted of murdering two women in 2010 when he was 18 years old.

Source: Japan Times, January 1, 2017

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