Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Execution of an Innocent Man in Texas

In May of 2006 I wrote a post about a report sponsored by the Innocence Project that a man executed in Texas for the arson deaths of his three children in 2004 may have been wrongfully convicted. In fact, based upon a study by forensic fire experts, each and every one of the factors identified as evidence for arson meant “absolutely nothing” and were consistent with indicators “routinely created by accidental fires.”

That was over three years ago. Since then the Texas Forensic Science Commission has been investigating the case. The Chicago Tribune reported in late August that a study for the commission by a nationally renowned fire scientist has reached the exact same conclusions as the pro bono Innocence Project report that essentially there was no evidence that the fire was arson and not simply a tragic accident.

The report stated that the state fire marshal on the case had "limited understanding" of fire science and that he "seems to be wholly without any realistic understanding of fires and how fire injuries are created." The marshal's findings, the report added, "are nothing more than a collection of personal beliefs that have nothing to do with science-based fire investigation."

The only other evidence against Cameron Todd Willingham was the testimony of a jailhouse snitch. A snitch that the New Yorker reports suffers from mental disorders, has tried to recant his testimony and is now no longer sure what he heard.

The Texas Commission says it will get a response from the fire marshal and then write its own report.

Let’s see, what do you think the odds are that the fire marshal is going to agree that he didn’t know what he was talking about? I’d say someone between almost non-existent and not a snowball’s chance in hell.

What do you think the odds are that the Texas Forensic Science Commission will side with the fire marshal rather than have to admit that an innocent man was executed? I’d say somewhere between you can take that to the bank and absolutely guaranteed.

What else would you expect from a state that thinks it would be just peachy-keen to teach creationism as science alongside REAL science like the Theory of Evolution?


Texas Moratorium Network said...

Sign a petition to Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas to acknowledge that the fire in the Cameron Todd Willingham case was not arson, therefore no crime was committed and on February 17, 2004, Texas executed an innocent man.

Jimmy said...

I read that blog and i really upset to when any innocent man involve in the Texas.A special committee will have to organize who one these case again and help that guy.