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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…

Washington death-row inmate Dwayne A. Woods dies of cardiac arrest

Dwayne A. Woods
Dwayne A. Woods
Dwayne A. Woods was convicted in 1997 of killing two women in Spokane Valley.

One of the nine people on Washington state’s death row has died of cardiac arrest, while in a medical facility for a chronic illness, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Dwayne A. Woods, 46, sentenced to death nearly 20 years ago, died Sunday night at the Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, according to the Department of Corrections, which noted that he had been under observation for a chronic illness. The department news release gave no other details about his medical condition.

An autopsy will be performed, the news release said.

Woods, who was in the state prison in Walla Walla, was convicted in June 1997 on two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the killings of Telisha Shaver, 22, and Jade Moore, 18.

Shaver and Moore were raped and beaten on the head with a baseball bat in a Spokane Valley mobile home in April 1996, according to The Spokesman-Review.

The two women knew Woods, then 25, because he had been dating Shaver’s sister.

Gov. Jay Inslee in 2014 announced a moratorium on state executions, saying the way the death penalty is applied is too flawed to let more go forward.

Inslee last week signed a reprieve for Clark Richard Elmore, who had been convicted of raping and killing his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter, Kristy Ohnstad, in Bellingham in 1995. Elmore will remain in prison for life. With his legal appeals exhausted, Elmore’s execution had been scheduled for Jan. 19.

Despite Inslee’s moratorium, executions are still part of state law, so any reprieves require that Inslee exercise his authority as governor.

No execution date had been set for Woods.

Source: Seattle Times, Seattle Times staff, January 2, 2017

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