Is Texas Gov Perry Covering Up the Execution of an Innocent Man?

October 1, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, convicted of arson and the deaths of his three little girls, continues to haunt Gov. Rick Perry, the prosecutors and investigators responsible for Willingham’s conviction, because many national arson experts are convinced he was wrongly convicted. That means that the State of Texas, under the authority of Gov. Perry, may have executed an innocent man.

Now, Gov. Perry is under fire for allegedly attempting to block any further investigation into the Willingham case by a state commission, by firing the head of the commission right before the hearing was to take place.

In a strong arm move Perry’s critics are likening to Richard Nixon’s so called, “Saturday night massacre,” when he famously fired the special prosecutor investigating Watergate, Perry unceremoniously fired the commission’s chairman, Sam Bassett. Perry then immediately replaced Bassett with his own two-term appointee.

Perry didn’t stop with the chairman. He also informed two other members on the nine-member commission that their services would no longer be required by the governor’s office.

The Texas Forensic Science Commission was scheduled to hear evidence from Craig Beyler, a nationally recognized fire science expert who was hired by the commission to review the conclusions made by experts in the Willingham case that arson took place.

Beyler’s final scathing report criticized the original fire investigators, as using “folklore and mysticism rather than science,” and he concluded that there was no credible scientific evidence to support a finding of arson.

Despite the damaging report, Perry tried to debunk Beyler’s conclusions and he continued to insist that Willingham was guilty, and claimed that there was other evidence used in his conviction besides the arson reports.

Perry also dismissed criticisms that his firing of commission members was politically motivated referring to his actions, as “pretty standard business as usual.”

The Forensic Science Commission has now cancelled the meeting where Beyler was scheduled to officially present his report to the committee. Despite Gov. Perry’s contention that Willingham was not wrongly executed, the growing evidence points to his innocence.

Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project said every bit of evidence used to convict Willingham of the arson deaths, has since been disproved. Referring to Gov. Perry, Scheck said, “He is clearly refusing to face reality.”

Willingham maintained his innocence until the day he was executed. Gov. Perry denied Willingham’s request for a 30-day stay of execution five years ago, that would have allowed his lawyers a chance to further review the questionable arson reports, thereby propelling Willingham to his eventual death.

Willingham was not a model citizen. He was a high school dropout with a troubled criminal past, an unemployed auto mechanic who drank excessively, cheated on his wife and beat her, even when she was pregnant.

John Jackson, the assistant district attorney assigned to Willingham’s case, became convinced that he was “an utterly sociopathic individual.” It was believed that Willingham’s motive for murdering his daughters, was that they “…were interfering with his beer drinking and dart throwing.”

Despite Willingham’s failings, the fact remains, that he may have been wrongly convicted and executed for the arson deaths of his three children.

The State of Texas may have executed a man, simply because his very existence was an affront to the public’s sense of decency and morality. However, our nation’s justice system doesn’t provide for executing individuals society finds revolting.

Death penalty lawyers believe Willingham’s case is the first proven instance in 35 years, of an executed man being proven innocent after being put to death.

Gov. Perry is currently caught up in a primary battle to hang on to his governor’s seat and apparently does not want questions about the Willingham case to provide political fodder to his opponent, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

On the day Willingham was executed by lethal injection, he looked towards his then ex-wife, Stacy Kuykendall and tried to release his hands from his restraints to make an obscene gesture in her direction. Willingham then said several times, “I hope you rot in hell, bitch.”

Our entire system of justice is based on the premise that:”It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one,” and that long-held standard seems to have been violated in the conviction and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.


Comments

6 Responses to “Is Texas Gov Perry Covering Up the Execution of an Innocent Man?”

  1. cameron todd willingham | Fooner on October 1st, 2009 6:07 pm

    […] Is Texas Gov Perry Covering Up the Execution of an Innocent Man …(ChattahBox)—The 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, convicted of arson and the deaths of his three little girls, continues to haunt Gov. Rick Perry,Read More […]

  2. Scott Cobb on October 1st, 2009 7:44 pm
  3. Outdoor News: How To Enjoy The Outdoors | Fishing Leisure Knowledge on October 1st, 2009 9:49 pm

    […] Is Texas Gov Perry Covering Up the Execution of an Innocent Man … […]

  4. Ben Reid on October 2nd, 2009 1:26 am

    Impeach. Impeach now.

  5. Patricia A. Jones on October 2nd, 2009 10:55 am

    Can anyone give me some direct quotes from Gov. Perry about the Willingham execution and/or the cover-up surrounding it? If so, please quote your sources and send to PatAldridgeJones@aol.com
    MANY thanks-
    Pat Jones

  6. Cheryl Freeman on October 5th, 2009 11:35 pm

    One of two actions took place in 2004 regarding Mr. Wallingham. 1) a guilty man was executed for a crime he committed; or 2) an innocent man was murdered for a crime he didn’t commit.

    Gov. Perry has insulted the intelligence of people by claiming his actions of removing the Commission Members the night before they were to meet, hear and discuss Reports was not politically motivated. If he had nothing to fear nor hide there would have been no need to deliberately remove those members at the very last hour. A fool fools himself when he thinks he has fooled others.

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