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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…

Georgia conservatives want to ‘re-think’ death penalty

Georgia's death chamber
Georgia's death chamber
A group of Georgia conservatives on Thursday will call for the state to re-examine the death penalty but thus far will stop short of calling for a end to state-sanctioned executions.

The group, calling itself Georgia Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. Thursday. 

The organization includes Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville.

“I am skeptical of our government’s ability to implement efficient and effective programs, and so a healthy skepticism of our state’s death penalty is warranted,” Harrell said in a statement. “Many individuals have been wrongly convicted and sentenced to die. Meanwhile, taxpayers are forced to pay for this risky government program, even though it costs far more than life without parole.”

Group spokesman Jon Crane said Thursday’s event “is the state of the process of educating people about the problems with the death penalty and to have a candid discussion from a conservative perspective.”

There is not yet, he said, a call for repeal.

Georgia executed more prisoners in 2016 than any other state in the nation, although it’s been nearly three years since a Georgia defendant was sentenced to death.

Other members of the group meeting Thursday include David Burge, former 5th District Republican Party chair, Richard Lorenc, chief operating officer of Foundations for Economic Freedom, Austin Paul, co-chair of the Mercer University College Republicans, Jennifer Maffessanti, chair of the Atlanta chapter of America’s Future Foundation and Marc Hyden, national coordinator of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty.

Source: ajc.com, Aaron Gould Sheinin, January 17, 2017

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