Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

The Willingham Files

September 5, 2009

(8-21-92) Father found guilty

Originally published Aug. 21, 1992

A Navarro County jury Thursday convicted a Corsicana man of capital murder in the deaths of his three daughters in a house fire Dec. 23, 1991.The eight-woman, four-man jury deliberated for one hour and 10 minutes before finding Cameron Todd Willingham, 24, guilty in the deaths of 1-year-old twins Kamron and Kameron and 2-year-old Amber. Willingham dropped his eyes when the verdict was read but showed no other signs of emotion.

The jury listened to more than five hours of testimony in the punishment phase of the trial Thursday afternoon, before both the state and the defense rested their cases.

Willingham, as in the first portion of the trial, refused to testify in his defense during the punishment phase, stating outside the presence of the jury that he felt “not that I don’t wish to (testify), that I don’t feel I need to.”

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cunningham (sic), who has a string ofcriminal convictions and arrestsover the past decade. The jury also couled (sic) sentence him to life in prison.

During closing arguments in the guilt-innocence phase of the trial Thursday morning, defense attorney David Martin said the prosecution’s case was built on “the most unreasonable of theories” and questioned the credibility of two of the prosecution’s witnesses – fire investigator Manuel Vasquez and Navarro County jail inmate Johnny Webb.

Vasquez had testified he was sure the fire was intentionally started. When asked if he had ever been mistaken in the 2,000 fire he investigated, Vasquez replied to the best of his knowledge he never had been.

“He is right,” Martin said sarcastically of the investigator’s claim. “He is never, ever wrong.”

Of Webb, who testified Willingham had confessed to him in a conversation the two men had in the Navarro County Justice Center, where Willingham is being held on $1 million bond, Martin said the inmate’s testimony should be considered doubtful because he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The Willingham Files
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  • (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.

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