Texas Gov. Perry Blocks Innocence Hearing of Executed Man By Dumping Chairman and Commission Members

225px-rick_perry_photo_portrait_august_28_2004art.willingham.jail 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.

art.willingham.familyTo the day of his execution, Willingham insisted that he was innocent.

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?

For the story, click here

69 thoughts on “Texas Gov. Perry Blocks Innocence Hearing of Executed Man By Dumping Chairman and Commission Members”

  1. Mojo you hit me with words “hard as steel”, but it was a damn fine post. Maybe I should go back and rethink my position..

  2. Thanks AY, believe me, that made me laugh, and it cheered me up. I hadn’t heard that song, since I was at the “Palomino Club” in North Hollywood, many moons ago. This was a famous “C and W” honky-tonk in the Valley. Clint Eastwood filmed those orangutan, good ol’ boy movies, at the Palomino Club back in the late 70’s…

  3. Mojo,

    That’s mean. But I like it. Radar Love would be good but Black Betty is better:


  4. Yes, there is a bigger question on this thread. Should an innocent man who may not have been accurately represented in court be put to death?

    When he looks at you with those huge cow eyes and says, “I didn’t do this”, and then it turns out he really didn’t do it, is that justice?

    That’s a more interesting question.

    As a side note, did you tell Michelle V. about stroking the gun-butt in Mexico or about Davy Crokett’s hair changing your life?

    If you did, chances are that’s why she married somebody else …

  5. billy,

    This is just for you, used to be my theme song:


  6. I like you “AY”, I do, I don’t get mad, I enjoy the give and take. Your little challenges are kinda “charming” in a goofy way AY. I like you folks goin’ off on me. Look, just go check it out, if you don’t believe me “fine”, what can I say. “Its’ an insane world, but in it, their is one sanity, the loyalty of old friends”. Michelle V. taught me that, to this day, she has a precious place in my heart. She was one of my closest colleagues.. Today I saw an old friend hadn’t seen her in ages. I had fallen “head over heels in love with her”, when we worked together, she is an RN. I was involved at the time “so my hands were tied”, but she became my “ideal representation”. She used too come into my office with these huge “cow eyes”, and her sweet, soft,gentle voice, I was putty in her soft brown hands. I bumped into her at the bank today. I hadn’t seen her since January 08. We had lunch back then at Mimi’s cafe, last time I saw her. Today, when I saw her, all the feelings flooded back, I always looked at her as if she were Audrey Hepburn in the Nun’s Story, she is so beautiful, looking into her dark eyes today was just too much, “then she hugged me”, like she never wanted me to go, my mind hasn’t been right all day, I can’t get Renee out of my mind, I guess I still carry a torch for her, she is now married. Is their anything so sad as unrequited love? Thats’ the bigger question. Answer that question ..

  7. Billy,
    I look at the number of people that have been executed in Texas under Bush and Perry and I wonder who else was murdered by the Lone Star State?

  8. Billy –

    Please don’t speak for Texas. It doesn’t do the state much good, and for that matter much good for Catholicism, either. Stroking the butts of guns and fantasizing about Davy Crokett’s hair just doesn’t do it for me, but whatever sails your boat.

    Or in Texas terms, hauls your wagon …

    The death penalty, justified as a deterrent to others to refrain from committing heinous crimes, does not work. The war on drugs has had little impact either. To put an innocent man to death for a crime he never committed is morally wrong.

    Our justice system, though it may strive to be perfect, is not, and therefore when situations like these occur, it should be a deterrent in itself. Stop allowing the state to kill people. For the simple reason that sometimes the state gets it wrong.

  9. Billy, by your logic, life without parole should have the same deterrent effect. Plus, if DNA or other evidence exonerates the convict, which happens often these days, he can be released. You can’t bring back the dead.

  10. billy,

    You said that it made you proud to be an American by visiting the Alamo? Yes? It was not a part of Texas kinda of like calling Iranian Rugs Persian? It is logically inconsistent. Kinda of like your flip on the Church Dogma. This is one demented debate that I will not be entangled. Now when you fuck with the facts of Texas, I do take exception and will bring you to reality.

    But then again you are for executing innocent people as a deterrent or was that detergent?

  11. Senorita, I never said “much” about the history of the Alamo, I said it made me proud to be an american. I never said “it was” its’ own independent country in 184(?) whatever. Lay off the sauce, save it for friday, then “tie it on”..

  12. I “square” it away by going to mass on Sunday and recognizing it is not a Dogma of the Church, I just said that, weren’t you listening- uh, correction reading? The death penalty is not a likeable thing, sadly I feel it is necessary..

  13. When I was in Mexico City a few years ago with “sweet” Carmelita, I had a chance to go to the main museum. Their was a Kentucky Long rifle seized by Santa Anas’ men, after the battle of the Alamo. It was on the wall, I stroked the stock on the “butt”, it gave me the chills. I was quickly reprimanded by a female Mexican security guard. It was the first time I was scolded in Spanish, but not the last. I quickly found out General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anas’ name is mud in Mexico. Nary a staue to be found in any park or plaza,and the Mexicans would bronze a chihuaha just to drink a few cervezas’ around it on a saturday night…

  14. Billy,

    CCD is correct and Catholic Church teachings are not as casual as you are suggesting. Since 1974 the United States Conference of Bishops has called for the end of capital punishment. Google it!

    Statement from US Conference of Bishops 2005:
    “Ending the death penalty would be one important step away from the culture of death and toward building a culture of life.”

    During his 26 years as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the late Pope John Paul II frequently called for an end to the death penalty. Among his statements on this issue were the following:

    “A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the death of human life must never be taken away, even in case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty which is both cruel and unnecessary.” (Homily at the Papel Mass in the Trans World Dome, St Louis, Missouri January 27, 1999)

    “May the death penalty, an unworthy punishment still used in some countries be abolished throughout the world.” (Prayer at the Papel Mass at Regina Coeli Prison in Rome, July 9, 2000)

    AS CCD asked how do you as a practicing Catholic square that away?

  15. Lets here it for Richard “Kinky Freedman and The Texas Jew Boys. He does have some irresistible redeeming qualities, though.


    I though you’d like this.

  16. Billy,
    I am glad that your facts on the Alamo have already been corrected by AY. The issue here is not whether there are interesting tourist attractions and historical places, but whether Texas will ever join the 21st Century. For the Governor to take steps to prevent the truth from coming out is, in my opinion, criminal. If you are old enough to have lived through the Nixon Saturday Night Massacre, you know what Perry is trying to do. Fortunately for good Texans and the rest of us, he won’t succeed for long.

  17. CCD 1, October 1, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    No calls are necessary. The way I learned it the RCC is for redemption, not executions.

    I thought it was that they were cool and burned people at the stake! Damn, I learned something new.

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