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Article on Cameron Todd Willingham underscores conservative columnist David Brooks’s opposition to the death penalty

David Brooks on The New Yorker's article about Texas's execution of the innocent Cameron Todd Willingham: "If you can still support the death penalty after reading this piece, you have stronger convictions than I do."

David Brooks on The New Yorker's article about Texas's execution of the innocent Cameron Todd Willingham: "If you can still support the death penalty after reading this piece, you have stronger convictions than I do."

Conservative columnist David Brooks honored David Grann’s article in The New Yorker on Texas’s execution of the innocent Cameron Todd Willingham as one of the best magazine essays of the year in this article in The New York Times:

The most powerful essay I read this year was David Grann’s “Trial by Fire” in The New Yorker. Grann investigated the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004 for murdering his three children by setting their house on fire.

In the first part of the essay, Grann lays out the evidence that led to Willingham’s conviction: the marks on the floor and walls that suggested that a fire accelerant had been splashed around; the distinct smoke patterns suggesting arson; the fact that Willingham was able to flee the house barefoot without burning his feet.

Then, in the rest of the essay, Grann raises grave doubts about that evidence. He tells the story of a few people who looked into the matter, found a miscarriage of justice and then had their arguments ignored as Willingham was put to death. Grann painstakingly describes how bogus science may have swayed the system to kill an innocent man, but at the core of the piece there are the complex relationships that grew up around a man convicted of burning his children. If you can still support the death penalty after reading this piece, you have stronger convictions than I do.

(Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia)

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