Texas Gov. Rick Perry has taken an perfectly Nixonian step of gutting a commission just days before it was to hear expert testimony indicating that Texas executed an innocent man, Cameron Todd Willingham. There is growing evidence that Texas not only convicted an innocent man but fought to prevent him from presenting evidence to prove his innocence. Just days before the hearing before the Texas Forensic Science Commission, Perry dumped the Chairman and declined to reappoint two commission members. The move may block the ability of Craig Beyler, an arson investigation expert, to prove that Willingham was innocent of setting a fire in his home in Corsicana, Texas, that killed his three daughters.
Perry replaced Chairman Sam Bassett with John Bradley, the district attorney of Williamson County, near Austin.
Beyler has stated that there was no credible evidence that Willingham set the fire or that it was even an act of arson. Two prior reports found that the fire was not caused by arson. Other experts have discredited the evidence presented by prosecutors in Texas.
Unable to change such reports, Perry has changed the commission and withheld appointments — effectively postponing any hearing.
Perry has introduced a new Zen-like question: if evidence of innocence is spoken but no one is there to hear it, is the person really shown to be innocent?
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