Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

The Willingham Files

September 3, 2009

(02-08-04) The Death Row story: Willingham still proclaims innocence

Originally published Feb. 8, 2004

LIVINGSTON — The clock is ticking as the hour allotted for an interview with Cameron Todd Willingham melts away.

But, more importantly, it’s another hour in the life of what is perhaps Navarro County’s most notorious member of death row.

Willingham was convicted of the murders of his three daughters — Amber Kuykendall, then 2 years old, and 1-year-old twins Karmen and Kameron. The three girls died in a Dec. 23, 1991 fire that was later proved in court as having been intentionally set.

The now 36-year-old Willingham has lived his past 12-plus years on death row ... at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Polanski Unit in Livingston ... in the midst of East Texas’ Piney Woods region ... kept in a cell 23 hours a day.

Just 45 minutes away from the execution chamber at TDCJ’s Walls Unit in Huntsville.

Where, nine days from now, on Feb. 17, the State of Texas will carry out his final sentence.

Death by lethal injection.


Still proclaims innocence

More than a decade may have passed, but Willingham still denies he’s the one that set the fire that killed his daughters.

And he doesn’t know who would have done it either?

“If I knew who did it, I wouldn’t be here,” Willingham said in an interview with the Daily Sun on Wednesday.

Why did the prosecutors pick him if he didn’t do it then?

“Like the (district attorney) said, I was the only one home,” Willingham responded.

He called the ensuing trial “a joke” and the justice system “a farce.” Not many players in that 1992 trial drama escaped his attention.

Willingham called first assistant district attorney John Jackson — the lead prosecutor then, now the district judge here — a “lying district attorney.”

He called the state fire marshall that testified against him “that lying state fire marshall” and that he did “one of the worst criminal investigations ever.”

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The Willingham Files
  • Science panel suggests review of arson convictions

    A Texas commission no longer allowed to investigate a case where death penalty opponents say a man may have been executed based on a faulty arson investigation recommended Friday that all cases involving people locked up on arson convictions be reviewed.

    October 29, 2011

  • 9-30 DA Award.jpg Thompson honored for Willingham work

    Lowell Thompson, Navarro County District Attorney, was honored by his peers at the Texas District and County Attorneys Association conference last week in Corpus Christi with the Lone Star Award for his work on the Willingham case.

    September 29, 2011 1 Photo

  • Willingham not on science panel agenda DALLAS (AP) — A state science panel looking into a possible wrongful conviction in a Texas death penalty case is meeting for the first time since Gov. Rick Perry removed several members, but the execution case is not on the agenda.

    January 21, 2010

  • (12-14-09) Tarrant County medical examiner appointed to forensic commission Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Tarrant County's medical examiner to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, a group shaken up this fall when Perry replaced several members.

    December 14, 2009

  • images_sizedimage_336091456 (12-02-09) Jurors defend verdict that led to Texas execution David Martin is sickened by the suggestion that Texas executed an innocent man when Cameron Todd Willingham was put to death for setting a fire that killed his three children.

    December 2, 2009 1 Photo

  • (11-10-09) Forensic panel chair offers plans The Texas Forensic Science Commission is not going to debate the death penalty or decide the guilt or innocence of individual cases, said John Bradley

    November 10, 2009

  • (11-08-09) GUEST COMMENTARY: A work in progress I am John Bradley, the elected District Attorney in Williamson County and the new presiding officer of the nine-member Texas Forensic Science Commission. I am writing to introduce myself, explain the purpose of the Commission and inform you about the work the Commission now faces.

    November 9, 2009

  • (10-27-09) Texas Forensic Science Commission questioned The City of Corsicana is questioning the Texas Forensic Science Commission’s ability to look at the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, since it happened 14 years before the commission was created.

    November 2, 2009

  • (10-26-09) Report: Willingham's former wife, 'He confessed' In a story on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's online newspaper today, Stacey Kykendall, the former wife of executed Cameron Todd Willingham, says he confessed to her before his execution.

    October 27, 2009

  • Death penalty opponents rally at Texas Capitol AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Death penalty opponents, convinced an innocent man was executed in 2004, staged a rally Saturday at the Texas Capitol to call for a moratorium on capital punishment and to highlight the controversial case of Cameron Todd Willingham.

    October 24, 2009

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