CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Innocent But Dead"

That's the headline on the op-ed piece in the New York Times about the 2004 Texas execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, convicted of starting a fire that killed his children. He had turned down a plea bargain that would have spared him the death penalty. Substantial doubt has now been cast on the scientific evidence that the fire was arson. When so informed, the jailhouse snitch who testified against Willingham "seemed taken aback. 'Nothing can save me now,' he said."  Doug Berman has links to other articles on the case at Sentencing Law and Policy.

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If you are shocked that Texas executed a person who was innocent of the crime for which he was executed, then join us in Austin at the Texas Capitol on October 24, 2009 for the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty.

At the 7th Annual March in 2006, the family of Todd Willingham attended and delivered a letter to Governor Perry that said in part:

“We are the family of Cameron Todd Willingham. Our names are Eugenia Willingham, Trina Willingham Quinton and Joshua Easley. Todd was an innocent person executed by Texas on February 17, 2004. We have come to Austin today from Ardmore, Oklahoma to stand outside the Texas Governor’s Mansion and attempt to deliver this letter to you in person, because we want to make sure that you know about Todd’s innocence and to urge you to stop executions in Texas and determine why innocent people are being executed in Texas.”

“Please ensure that no other family suffers the tragedy of seeing one of their loved ones wrongfully executed. Please enact a moratorium on executions and create a special blue ribbon commission to study the administration of the death penalty in Texas. A moratorium will ensure that no other innocent people are executed while the system is being studied and reforms implemented.”

Posted by: Scott Cobb | Sep 1, 2009 4:10:30 PM

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