Tonight on CNN AC360, Todd Willingham’s trial lawyer David Martin, the person who was supposed to have vigorously defended his client, made an appearance on national TV arguing for his former client’s guilt. Martin, appearing in a cowboy hat, drawled that the report submitted to the Texas Forensic Science Commission by Dr Craig Beyler was one of the “least objective reports” he has ever read. “This is supposed to be a scientific report?”, said Martin.
Steve Mills of the Chicago Tribune, then said that the arson investigation methods used in 1991 were not based on science. “That is absurd” said Martin.
You have to see the shocking video of Martin’s appearance. This shows why the Texas death penalty system can allow innocent people to be executed. Willingham did not have a chance with Martin as his lawyer. Anderson Cooper at one point said, “you don’t sound like a defense lawyer, you sound like a sheriff”.
Martin said, “this is riduculous. This is absurd. The defense lawyer doesn’t have to believe the client. This is an absurdity.”
Also on tonight’s AC 360, they reported on a juror from Willingham’s trial that told them she now has doubts about Wilingham’s guilt. The juror also says that she was allowed to be a juror even though her family was good friends with the fire investigator whose testimony helped convict Willingham. Her family’s close relationship with Doug Fogg would have likely been grounds for overturning his conviction and getting Willingham a new trial if it had been raised before his execution.
the controversy has led juror Dorenda Brokofsky to think twice about the decision she made in a jury room in 1992.
“I don’t sleep at night because of a lot of this,” Brokofsky said. “I have gone back and forth in my mind trying to think of anything that we missed. I don’t like the fact that years later someone is saying maybe we made a mistake, that the facts aren’t what they could’ve been.”
“I do have doubts now,” she said. “I mean, we can only go with what we knew at the time, but I don’t like the fact now that maybe this man was executed by our word because of evidence that is not true. It may not be true now. And I don’t like the fact that I may have to face my God and explain what I did.”
Also today, the Dallas Morning News ran a column by Lynn Wooley in which he speculates that Rick Perry’s handling of the Willingham case and Kay Bailey Hutchison’s so far less than fully energetic campaign effort, could cause some new candidates to enter the race for the Republican nomination for Texas governor. He says both Perry and Hutchison “have issues that must be cleared up – and soon – or other big names are going to enter the race.”
What if the commission concludes that Willingham was innocent – and the voting public concludes that Perry’s move to replace the chairman and three other members of the commission might have been a blocking tactic? The Hutchison campaign is already saying, “It gives the appearance of a cover-up.”
This sordid affair might prove very useful to Hutchison in her campaign to unseat the governor, except for the fact that she seems to have no fire in the belly to pursue the race. In a radio interview with WBAP’s Mark Davis, she said she isn’t sure when she will leave the Senate to pursue the governor’s race full time. She isn’t certain about what Congress will do with health care, and she wants to “stay and fight with every bone in my body against a government takeover.”
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.
Plan to attend the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 24 in Austin at the Texas Capitol. We plan to deliver the petition that day. Members of Todd Willingham’s family are expected to attend the march and rally and help us deliver the petition signatures.
Todd Willingham was executed for arson/murder on February 17, 2004. He professed his innocence from his arrest until he was strapped down on the execution gurney. Now, we know for certain that he was telling the truth. On August 25, 2009, Dr Craig Beyler, the investigator hired by the Texas Forensic Science Commission to review the Willingham case, released his report in which he found that “a finding of arson could not be sustained” by a scientific analysis (Read the report here). He concluded that the fire in the Willingham case was accidental and not arson. In fact, there was no arson, so there was no crime. Texas executed an innocent person. The proven execution of an innocent person should mean the end of the death penalty in the United States.