Innocent man executed by State of Texas

Faulty Testimony Sent 2 to Death Row, Panel Finds

Faulty evidence masquerading as science sent two men to death row for arson in Texas and led to the execution of one of them, a panel of private fire investigators concluded in a report released Tuesday in Austin.

Mr. Willingham was executed by lethal injection on Feb. 17, 2004, after Gov. Rick Perry rejected a plea for a last-minute stay, once the courts and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles had declined to intervene.

Mr. Willis was exonerated and pardoned on Oct. 6, 2004, and collected almost $430,000 for 17 years of wrongful imprisonment.

The report says that prosecution witnesses in both cases interpreted fire indicators like cracked glass and burn marks as evidence that the fires had been set, when more up-to-date technology shows that the indicators could just as well have signified an accidental fire. In one case, the signs were accepted as proof of guilt, the report said; in the other, they were discarded as misleading.

“These two outcomes are mutually exclusive,” Mr. Scheck said. “Willis cannot be found ‘actually innocent’ and Willingham executed based on the same scientific evidence.”

This is exactly why I and many others are against the death penalty. I wonder how Governor Perry sleeps at night, knowing he executed an innocent man?

I can only imagine how death penalty supporters rationalize cases like this. There’s a fairly substantial body of evidence these days that the death penalty doesn’t act as a deterrant in the slightest, which is the usual justification for this thing. Compound that with the fact that innocent men can and do get executed by the state, and I’m really confused as to how people can still support it. I really do think it comes down to some archaic sense of vengeance justice that some people must possess. But I’d really like to hear the view of anyone who actually supports the death penalty hear, on the off chance that one is reading this post. How do you justify this?

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