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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…

Dylann Roof Calls No Witness, Offers No Evidence in Death Penalty Hearings

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Federal prosecutors rested their case on Monday that convicted killer and self-proclaimed white supremacist Dylann Roof should be executed for gunning down nine worshipers at a South Carolina church in 2015.

So did Roof, who is representing himself during the penalty phase of his federal trial.

Over four days of testimony, Roof, 22, didn't make much of an argument that he should be spared. He didn't challenge any of the government's witnesses — some 38 victims of the attack on Emanuel AME Church were expected to testify — nor did he call any of his own witnesses.

Roof did, however, seek to limit how many victims government prosecutors could present. (In a motion, he described their testimony as "excessive".) And in his opening statement last Wednesday — his first public statement since the June 17 attack — he explained the highly unusual choice to act as his own lawyer.

"I chose to represent myself to prevent my lawyers from presenting [my] mental health evaluation," Roof said, adding: "There is nothing wrong with me psychologically."

Meanwhile, the government called witness after witness to offer a window into the emotionally raw aftermath of the June 17 attack.

Denise Quarles, for instance, described in blunt terms how it felt to hear that her mother, Myra Thompson, had been killed at a place that her family had considered a sanctuary.

On Monday, Roof filed a motion that seeks to prevent government lawyers from using "unfair and constitutional" words and references in its closing argument on Tuesday. Among them are "evil," "hate" and a reference to Hitler from his personal writings.

Roof is also expected to deliver a closing argument, though it is unclear what he will say.

Source: NBC News, January 9, 2017

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