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Shout from the rooftops: ‘Cameron Todd Willingham was innocent and executed’

From the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty:

In 2006, United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia asserted that there has never been a single case in which an individual was wrongfully convicted and executed.  If there was, he said, “the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops.”

Thanks to the September 7 New Yorker article “Trial by Fire,” we can shout with authority the name of Cameron Todd Willingham. This compelling and heart-wrenching piece, reported by David Grann, details Willingham’s conviction and execution in 2004 for setting the fire which destroyed his home and killed his three children, a conviction which relied on supposed scientific evidence.

But Willingham insisted he was innocent, even up to the day he was put to death. And a report by a forensic expert around the time of his execution backed Willingham’s contention that the evidence used to convict Willingham was scientifically worthless, but it was ignored by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Governor days before Willingham’s execution.

Now, a scathing new review of the evidence by acclaimed fire expert Craig Beyler proves beyond doubt that Willingham was innocent, and that the fire was accidental. Beyler condemns the so-called scientific evidence used to convict Willingham as denying “rational reasoning” and more “characteristic of mystics or psychics.” Beyler says the investigation violated, as he put it to Grann, not only the standards of today but even of the time period.”

Although it is too late to save Cameron Todd Willingham, we can prevent tragedies like this from happening again. NCADP needs your help to do so.

In light of the new development in Willingham’s case, NCADP is launching “Shouting from the Rooftops,” a campaign to increase public attention to the crisis of innocents being sent to death row and the fallibility of the death penalty system.

NCADP needs your help to make this campaign successful. Here’s what you can do:

  • Read “Trial by Fire” and share it with two friends. Have them share it with two more friends so you can multiply our voices.
  • Learn how to make a video in which you “shout from the rooftops” that an innocent person has been executed.
  • Write a letter to the editor about Cameron Todd Willingham, calling for an end to the death penalty.
  • Read our report, “Innocent and Executed: Four Chapters in the Life and Death of America’s Death Penalty,” and tell a friend about it.
  • Support NCADP’s work by donating here. Your gift enables us to reach out to more people and helps our voices grow louder.
  • Put the “Shouting from the Rooftops” banner on your web page or blog.  Click here for the html code.

Join the “Shouting from the Rooftops” campaign to stop innocents from being put to death. Thank you, and don’t forget to shout from the rooftops:

Cameron Todd Willingham was Innocent and Executed!

Diann Rust-Tierney
Executive Director, NCADP

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One Response

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  1. Charlie Wilton says

    If all executions are wrong, then why is the execution of the innocent so worthy of extra attention? The execution of innocent people is a crucial fact because it belies the claim that capital punishment exists to protect innocent victims from random violence. On the contrary, the death penalty imposes a tremendous risk of creating innocent victims with no real benefits to society. . . and also because while most Americans support the death penalty, many of those supporters would be revolted to discover the reality of how it is in fact carried out.



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