Texas Moratorium Network was planning to attend the meeting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission on Friday and hold a demonstration to “Shout it from the Rooftops” that Todd Willingham was innocent. Now, Perry has canceled the meeting and replaced the Commission’s chair and some other members.
Call the Governor’s office to STRONGLY protest his cancellation of the meeting and his replacement of the chair of the commission.
Sign the 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.
From the Houston Chronicle:
In a surprise move, Gov. Rick Perry today appointed two new members to a state commission investigating case of a Corsicana man who some believe was wrongly executed for murdering his children — forcing the cancellation of a meeting on the case scheduled for Friday.
Named to head the Texas Forensic Science Commission was John Bradley, district attorney in Williamson County. Bradley cancelled Friday’s meeting at which the panel was to accept fire expert Craig Beyler’s analysis of arson investigators’ work in the deadly December 1991 house fire.
Three children perished in the blaze. Their father, Cameron Todd Willingham, was convicted of capital murder and executed.
Bradley, who has been his county’s chief prosecutor since December 2001, said he called off Friday’s meeting because he didn’t have adequate time to study the arson case.
Beyler’s report was extremely critical of the investigations by Corsicana and state arson investigators, concluding they based their arson ruling on outdated and sloppy procedures.
Beyler’s was the third review to fault the arson investigators.
Outgoing commission chairman, Sam Bassett, an Austin defense lawyer, expressed “disappointment” at Perry’s timing in the naming of new commissioners, but noted, “I understand that I serve at the pleasure of Gov. Perry.”
Also replaced were commission members Alan Levy, head of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s criminal division, and Aliece Watts, quality director at Euless-based Integrated Forensic Laboratories.
Perry named Norma Farley, chief forensic pathologist for Cameron and Hidalgo counties to the panel, and will name a third member in the near future.
A spokeswoman for the commission, which is headquartered at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, said the outgoing members’ two-year terms technically expired on Sept. 1.
Spokesmen for Perry’s office did not offer immediate comments on the timing of the appointments.
Levy, who, like Bassett, had served four years on the panel, called Perry’s timing on the appointments “unfortunate.”
“It will raise suspicions whether they are justified or not,” he said. “This is a very important case. What this is going to do is raise the temperature, and that will not be a good thing.”