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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…

Bill to eliminate the death penalty heads to Louisiana Senate

Louisiana's death row
Louisiana's death row
BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - A bill that would eliminate the death penalty in Louisiana will hit the Louisiana State Senate floor Monday afternoon.

The bill cleared a committee last month on a 6-1 vote and Monday the full senate is expected to debate the death penalty at the Capitol.

The bill authored by Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor would eliminate the death penalty as of August 1 of this year.

Capital punishment opponents argue the practice is too costly for the state. Louisiana spent more than $90 million in the last 10 years defending capital cases.

A post-conviction attorney told legislators that judges and juries do not always reach the correct conclusion.

Data shows more than 80-percent of death penalty cases were overturned in the last four decades.

But opponents think it could green light judges to overturn death penalty sentences for convicts currently on death row.

Claitor said the bill is not designed to be used retroactively.

State Representative Terry Landry, (D) New Iberia said now is the time to make a change.

“It is a bad act that has outlived its time economically, morally, and I think it is time for us to turn a course,” Landry said.

But death penalty supporters say there are times when it is the correct punishment.

“There are crimes that are so heinous that I submit to you the death penalty may be the appropriate penalty,” said Ricky Babin, Ascension Parish District Attorney.

Landry, a former superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, is sponsoring a similar bill in the house.

Source: WVUE, May 15, 2017

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