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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…

Sarawakian and Filipina narrowly escape death penalty in Malaysia

Malaysia airport drug bust
A Sarawakian and a Filipina, who were initially charged with drug trafficking, were sentenced by the High Court here on a lesser charge of drug possession.

Stage technician Andy Lim Shau Seng, 32, was jailed 15 years and ordered to be caned 10 times after he pleaded guilty to an amended charge of having 664.9gm of syabu at 4.30pm on Aug 29, 2016 in front of Kedai Fook Yuen in Gaya Street, here.

Filipina businesswoman Rubiah Lahani Abdul Rahman, 34, was handed 5 years' jail on an alternative charge of having 56.43gm of syabu at 4.10pm on May 17, 2016 at the KFC outlet in Karamunsing Complex, here.

Earlier Monday, Lim was brought before Judge Datuk Nurchaya Arshad for ruling on the main charge against him for trafficking the drugs, which carries the death penalty under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

However, the court amended the charge to possession under Section 12(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, punishable under Section 39A(2) of the same Act, which carries imprisonment for life or not less than 5 year, if convicted.

Counsel Kitson Fong, representing Lim, applied for a lenient sentence on the grounds that it was Lim's 1st offence and that his guilty plea had saved time and expenses.

Fong also asked the court to give Lim a chance to turn over, saying his arrest caused him to evaluate his life and that he felt remorse.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Gan Peng Kun said drug offences were a major problem for the nation and demanded a deterrent sentence.

He added that by pleading guilty was not entitled to a lesser punishment and proposed a jail term of between 15 years and 20 years, and whipping accordingly.

Meanwhile, Rubiah had, on Aug 29, admitted to an alternative charge offered by the prosecution following a representation from her counsel.

She was initially scheduled to stand trial the said day on the original charge of trafficking the drugs.

Counsel Hairul V. Othman, representing Rubiah, in her mitigation, told the court that Rubiah, who is married to a local and has 3 children, has been staying in the State for 20 years.

Hairul submitted, among others, that at the time of the arrest there were another man and woman who actually played a bigger role in the case, which set her up to be the scapegoat notwithstanding that she also knew what she was into.

Rubiah was at fault considering that she could make some money working with the said 2 persons, who were also arrested at the same time with her and were only detained under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985, said Hairul.

By pleading guilty proved that Rubiah had repented and being responsible of her own act even if she did not do it alone, said Hairul, who applied for the sentence be just and fair in a form of reasonable minimum period of imprisonment.

Source: Daily Express, Sept. 12, 2017


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