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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…

Arkansas says it has no source for drug if inmates delay executions

Arkansas' Death Chamber
Arkansas' Death Chamber
LITTLE ROCK — Lawyers for the state of Arkansas are telling a federal court that delaying eight executions beyond April 30 would have the same effect as canceling them altogether.

Arkansas recently replaced an outdated potassium chloride supply, but in court papers Monday said it has no source for midazolam after its current stock expires at the end of the month.

To meet the deadline, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has scheduled eight executions in an 11-day period beginning April 17. No state has executed that many people in so short a time since the U.S. Supreme Court reauthorized the death penalty in 1976.

Arkansas has not executed a prisoner since 2005 because of legal challenges and drug shortages.

The inmates say the state is denying them sufficient time to bring meaningful clemency requests.

Ahead of the scheduled executions, Hutchinson on Monday said he continues to review legal briefs for the inmates.

“I’m taking those one at a time to make sure that each gets the individual attention that is appropriate,” the governor told reporters.

Hutchinson said it is also important to “balance the conversation,” taking into consideration the victims of the crimes.

When asked whether clemency is still possible for any of the eight death-row inmates, the governor said he will look through recommendations and will make a decision at a later date.

“These cases have all been through over 10 to 15 years of review in the courts. There’s not really any question of guilt in these cases,” Hutchinson said. “The significance and horrendous nature of the crimes are the reasons that jury gave that penalty.”

The inmates — Bruce Ward, Don Davis, Ledell Lee, Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams, Stacey Johnson, Jack Jones and Jason McGehee — are set to die over a span starting April 17 and ending April 27.

Sources: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, The Associated Press, April 3, 2017

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