A documentary by Frontline called Death by Fire aired last night on PBS. In my opinion, it high-lighted the many questions that surround the death penalty. I would also like to know whether the governor read the expert's arson report before he decided to let the poison flow through an arguably innocent man's body. Did he even have a moment of discomfort or second thought? All his recent actions regarding the case seem to point to a man who would rather this entire affair be swept under the nearest rug.

At the very least someone running for the highest office in the US must be made to answer questions surrounding this case. He was the last man standing between the needle that delivered Todd's death sentence and a chance of redemption. He failed in his duty to Todd, IMO and he will fail others in the future if he is not brought to task over this egregious miscarriage of justice.

Documents - Police Statements Used In The Trial | Death By Fire | FRONTLINE | PBS (external - login to view)

This morning I did some internet searches on the case as the doc was the first time it had come to my attention. One of the most comprehensive coverages of the Todd Willingham case was done by the New Yorker.

Cameron Todd Willingham, Texas, and the death penalty : The New Yorker (external - login to view)

I quote a few paragraphs from the Huffington Post that give a short summary of the case.

"Cameron Todd Willingham was convicted in August 1992 for the murder of his three young children in a fire that was deemed an arson by investigators. While on death row, a frantic effort to prove his innocence resulted in a full report which questioned the scientific legitimacy of the evidence used to convict Willingham. That report made its way to Gov. Perry's office ahead of the zero hour, but it was all for nought -- no stay of execution was granted in order to consider the new findings. Willingham was executed by lethal injection on Feb. 17, 2004. Yet the efforts to exonerate Willingham only intensified, and in 2005, the Texas Forensic Science Commission decided to re-examine the case. The commission hired a nationally known fire scientist, Craig Beyler, to evaluate the evidence, and in his report, he came down on the same side as the scientists who had evaluated the case prior to Willingham's execution: there was no credible scientific basis for the conclusion that arson had been committed.

Beyler was eventually scheduled to testify before the commission on Oct. 2, 2009. Two days before Beyler's appearance, however, Rick Perry put a stop to it.

Two years later, we're wondering if anyone wants to ask the presidential aspirant why."

Cameron Todd Willingham Execution: Rick Perry's Role Deserves Scrutiny (external - login to view)