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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…

Missouri Supreme Court refuses to hear inmate's innocence claims despite DNA testing and only eyewitness recanting

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - A man serving a life sentence is denied an appeal hearing by Missouri’s Supreme Court, despite DNA tests proving the hair used at trial wasn’t his and the only eyewitness recanting her testimony.

As 41 Action News first reported last year, Rodney Lincoln appealed his 1982 murder conviction to Missouri’s Court of Appeals but was denied.

The ruling stated innocence claims should only be allowed in death row cases.

The Missouri Supreme Court upheld that ruling this week by refusing to hear Lincoln’s case.

“There's no way a jury would’ve convicted Rodney if it had been fully informed,” said Sean O’Brien, UMKC Law Professor who helped work on Lincoln’s case.

DNA testing later showed the hair presented at trial turned out to not be Lincoln’s, but he’s still in prison 35 years later.

“Zero evidence tying him to the crime and the evidence they used at trial we’ve discovered that it was completely tainted with improper procedures,” O’Brien told 41 Action News.

O’Brien said one of those improper procedures is the police lineup of Lincoln they showed the murder victim’s seven year old daughter.

At the time, she had told police she saw the murderer and he had short hair, but all the men in the lineup had long hair except for Lincoln.

“This poor girl was manipulated into picking a picture of Rodney,” O’Brien said about the victim’s daughter who later recanted her testimony as an adult.

The Midwest Innocence Project is representing Lincoln for free and has tried to get his appeals heard for years.

Now that the Missouri Supreme Court has denied his appeal request, Lincoln’s last hope in the state is to either get paroled or a pardon from Governor Eric Greitens.

Source: kshb.com, June 1, 2017


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