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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…

India's Supreme Court upholds death penalty for 55-year-old who raped, killed 4-year-old

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a review petition of a 55-year-old man and sent him to gallows for raping and stoning to death a four-year-old girl in 2008.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said “no case is made out” and dismissed the review petition.

The bench, which also comprised Justices RF Nariman and UU Lalit, said “the aggravating circumstances and the barbaric manner in which the four-year-old was killed, clearly outweigh the mitigating circumstances.”

The convict is currently lodged in Nagpur jail.

The court had on November 26, 2014 upheld the trial court as well as Bombay High Court judgements awarding death sentence to Maharashtra resident Vasanta Sampat Dupare in the 2008 rape-cum-murder case of Nagpur.

The apex court had on July 14 last year agreed to examine the plea of Dupare, who had claimed he was not accorded a fair chance to put forth his arguments by the trial court which sentenced him to death.

While upholding death penalty awarded to the convict, the top court had said that the rape of a minor girl child is nothing but “a monstrous burial of her dignity in darkness.”

The court had referred to the sequence of events in the case and said that the convict, who was a neighbour, lured the girl, raped her and then battered her to death using two heavy stones.

Source: Hindustan Times, May 3, 2017



Indian court rejects death penalty plea in 2002 riots


Angry mob gang-raped 19-year old pregnant Muslim woman, killed 14 of her family members in 2002 Gujarat riots

An Indian court has turned down a plea seeking death penalty for three men convicted of gang-raping a pregnant Muslim woman and murdering 14 of her family members.

The incident had taken place in anti-Muslim riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002. 12 people were awarded life imprisonment in the case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had asked the Bombay High Court to order death penalty for three of the accused -- Govind Nai, Shailesh Bhatt and Jaswant Nai -- as it has evidence that they gang-raped Bilkis Bano, a 19-year-old woman.

According to CBI, Bhatt was involved in killing Bano's 3-year-old daughter by crushing her head with a stone.

Bano had recognized her rapists during interrogation. The CBI had termed it a "rarest of rare case" and demanded death penalty for 3 of the convicts.

She along with other Muslims was attacked by a mob on March 3, 2002 in Dahod district. She was 5 months pregnant when she was raped by her fellow villagers.

She lost 14 members of her family including her 3-year-old child, 2 sisters and mother. Only 2 family members of Bano survived after the violence.

However, the court accepted the plea of the CBI to reverse the acquittal of 5 police officers of Gujarat in the case. They were found involved with the convicts in fudging documents.

A trial court in Mumbai in January, 2008 had sentenced 12 people to life imprisonment. They later appealed in High Court against their conviction. 1 of the convicts has died since then.

Source: aa.com.tr, May 4, 2017

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