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Todd Willingham
Todd Willingham was wrongfully executed under Governor Rick Perry on February 17, 2004.

The Texas Forensic Science Commission met in Dallas on Sept 17, 2010. Todd Willingham’s stepmother, Eugenia, and two of his cousins, Patricia Willingham Cox and Judy Willingham Cavner, testified to the packed meeting. Watch the video on YouTube.

Video by Texas Moratorium Network

October 30, 2010 at 2 PM
Texas State Capitol
Austin Texas

Texas Moratorium Network attended the meeting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission on Sept 17, 2010 in Dallas. Below are some media coverage on Dallas TV stations. The yellow and blue signs on the walls were brought to the meeting by TMN.

Video From MyFox Dallas Fort Worth (Contains comments by Rick Perry):

Video from NBC Dallas:

Video from WFAA (ABC) Dallas:

October 30, 2010 at 2 PM
Texas State Capitol
Austin Texas

This is Todd Willingham’s family who continue to fight tenaciously for justice for Todd. Before his execution, Todd had told his parents, “Please don’t ever stop fighting to vindicate me.” In this picture are Todd’s family members at the Texas Forensic Science Commission in Dallas on Sept 17. They won’t ever give up, and we won’t give up standing beside them.

Todd Willingham’s Family at Texas Forensic Science Commission

Todd Willingham’s Family joined by Jamie Bush and Scott Cobb of Texas Moratorium Network
 and Laura Lamb of CEDP-Denton

October 30, 2010 at 2 PM
Texas State Capitol
Austin Texas

The Texas Forensic Science Commission rebelled Friday against its head commissioner, refusing to accept his draft report clearing arson investigators of misconduct or negligence in a 1991 fatal fire where flawed science was used to determine the blaze was intentionally set.

RON HEFLIN/Special Contributor
Texas Forensic Science Commission Chairman John Bradley, seated next to counsel Barbara Deane, pushed members to end their investigation by voting that misconduct did not occur in the 1991 arson case of Cameron Todd Willingham.

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for killing his three children by setting that blaze. Texas may have executed an innocent man on Gov. Rick Perry’s watch if the fire was accidental.

“There’s a lot of work to be done still,” Tarrant County Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani, a member of the commission, said after the meeting. “That’s why the commission didn’t approve the draft.”

The commission instead plans to question arson experts at a future meeting about investigation standards at the time of the fire and will look into whether the investigators knew or should have known the science that led them to assume the fire was caused by arson was flawed.

That puts the commission’s plans right back where they were nearly a year ago, just before Perry suddenly replaced the chairman and two members of the commission.

Perry’s October 2009 dismissals came two days before commissioners were to hear from Baltimore-based Craig Beyler, a nationally recognized fire expert hired by the panel. Beyler has called the fire investigation into the Willingham case slipshod, saying the conclusion that the fire was caused by arson was based on wives’ tales about how fire behaves.

Perry’s replacements were seen by some as a political maneuver intended to change the outcome of the commission’s decision. Perry replaced Austin defense attorney Sam Bassett with conservative Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley as head of the commission.

Perry, however, said the change was a typical use of his power for appointments.

When asked to respond to the commission’s Friday decision to reject the draft report and keep reviewing circumstances around the arson ruling, Perry’s office only pointed out that Willingham was convicted by a jury and that decision was upheld by state and federal courts.

“We expect that the commission will appropriately complete their review of this case,” the statement said.

Had the commission accepted the draft report as Bradley wanted, it would have ended the commission’s inquiry into the Willingham case.

Bassett, the replaced chairman, said in a prepared statement that “science prevailed” when the commission rejected the draft.

“It is heartening to see the scientists on the commission are taking this investigation seriously and requiring that more be done,” he said.

Bassett said that there is “little doubt” some testimony “was based upon flawed science and outdated principles. While some don’t seem to care about this anomaly and how it might affect hundreds of arson convictions, it is a relief that the majority of the commission does care.”

At a meeting set for Nov. 19, the commission is now expected to hear from experts, including Beyler, who concluded that no reasonable investigator could determine that the Corsicana house fire was intentionally set.

Read the rest of the article here.

October 30, 2010 at 2 PM
Texas State Capitol
Austin Texas

This 10 minute video, with reflection questions, provides an explanation of the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding the death penalty, In addition to the principles, it discusses their application in the United States today. It includes comments by Bill Pelke, president of the Journey of Hope … From Violence to Healing. Bill and members of the JOH will be attending the 11th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty in Austin on October 30 at the Texas Capitol. Journey of Hope will be conducting a speaking tour in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin in the two weeks leading up to the annual march in Austin.

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