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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…

Pfizer Says Execution Drugs Sold to Arkansas Without Knowing

Pfizer Inc. said drugs that can be used to execute inmates by lethal injection were sold to the Arkansas Department of Corrections without its knowledge by the distributor McKesson Corp., in violation of the drugmaker’s policy.

The statement followed a report in the New Yorker that the state of Arkansas was planning to execute seven people before the end of April, after which the lethal injection drugs will expire.

Pfizer and other companies have attempted to block the use of their products in lethal injections. In this case, according to Pfizer, the drugs were sold to the state by San Francisco-based McKesson, one of the U.S.’s largest distributors of pharmaceuticals.

“Without Pfizer’s knowledge, McKesson, a distributor, sold the product to” the Arkansas Department of Corrections, Pfizer said in a statement. “This was in direct violation of our policy.” The drugmaker said it twice asked the state to return the drugs.

“We considered other means by which to secure the return of the product, up to and including legal action,” Pfizer said in the statement. “After careful consideration, we determined that it was highly unlikely that any of these means would secure the timely return of the product and thereby prevent this misuse.”

In a statement Thursday, McKesson also said that Arkansas “intentionally sought to circumvent McKesson’s policies” and that vercuronium bromide was procured “under the auspices that it would be used for medical purposes.” McKesson requested that the product be returned and refunded, Kristin Hunter, a spokeswoman, said in the statement. The company is now considering “all possible means by which to secure the return of the product, up to and including legal action.”

The Arkansas Department of Corrections didn’t respond to a request for comment made after business hours. Rachel Hooper, a spokeswoman for New York-based Pfizer, declined to say whether Pfizer would take any other action against McKesson for violating the policy.

Source: Bloomberg, April 14, 2017

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