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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…

Florida: Judge sides with governor in prosecutor removal over death penalty

State Attorney Aramis Ayala
State Attorney Aramis Ayala
Florida's governor has the right to remove a state attorney from a case after the prosecutor said she would not seek the death penalty, a judge said Tuesday as he denied a request to delay the proceedings.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala said earlier this month that she wouldn't seek the death penalty for a man charged in the December slayings of his ex-girlfriend and a police officer.

After her announcement, Republican Gov. Rick Scott removed her from the case and appointed a new prosecutor.

Ayala, a Democrat, said the governor overstepped his authority and she is fighting to keep the case. Ayala has said there is no evidence that shows the death penalty improves public safety and it's costly and drags on for years for the victims' families.

She asked a judge to delay proceedings for 2 weeks while she prepares an argument for the Florida Supreme Court. But Chief Justice Frederick J. Lauten denied her request Tuesday and said State Attorney Brad King, who was appointed by the governor, will remain as the chief prosecutor.

The judge said Ayala can still file her argument with the high court, but the case against Markeith Loyd would move ahead, with the next hearing scheduled for Monday. Loyd is charged with the 1st-degree murder in the killings of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton.

Loyd, who has previously cursed at judges during previous court appearances, was subdued during the hearing Tuesday. He objected to Ayala being removed from the case.

Ayala, who is the 1st elected African-American state attorney in Florida, said in court documents that the governor's actions are unprecedented and his interference in the decision-making by state attorneys could undermine Florida's judicial system.

Source: news-journalonline.com, March 29, 2017

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