Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

The Willingham Files

September 4, 2009

(08-19-02) Capital murder trial gets underway Tuesday

Originally published Aug. 19, 1992

An arson investigator with the State Fire Marshall’s office Tuesday said the father of three young girls deliberately set the fire that killed the girls last December.

Testimony began Tuesday morning in the capital murder trial of 24-year-old Cameron Todd Willingham. Police and prosecutors allege Willingham set the fire that killed his 2-year-old daughter, Amber, and 1-year-old twins, Kamron and Kameron, on Dec. 23, 1991.

Arson investigator Manuel Vasquez testified late Tuesday afternoon the fire that killed the three girls was intentionally set in three different places at the wood frame house where Willingham has said he was asleep when he heard one of his daughters crying for him and woke to find the house ablaze.

Under objection by defense attorneys David Martin and Rob Dunn, Vasquez said it was his opinion that Willingham set the fires. Vasquez said he did not think any of the children could have set the blaze.

Additionally, a conversation Willingham had with Vasquez showed inconsistencies with minor injuries the father had sustained in the fire, Vasquez said.

Vasquez detailed on a chart for the eight-woman, four-man jury and with photographs of the burned house how and where the fires were started. Vasquez said portion of the floor were on fire, and had Willingham ran out of the house barefoot after being awakened, as he told authorities, his feet would have been burned, Vasquez testified.

“The fire is telling this,” Vasquez said. “The fire is telling the story. I’m just the interpreter…The fire does not lie, the fire tells the truth.”

Additionally, the amount of smoke created by the blaze would have caused Willingham to suffer from severe smoke inhalation had he tried to rescue his three daughters from the fire as he told police, Vasquez said.

Instead, Willingham showed no signs of smoke inhalation injuries – which Vasquez said would make one “want to puke your guts out” – following the fire, the arson investigator testified.

Text Only
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

AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Seasonal Content
House Ads
Twitter Updates
Front page
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide