Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

The Willingham Files

November 10, 2009

(11-10-09) Forensic panel chair offers plans

Bradley says Willingham probe will go on

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, the head of the Texas Forensics Commission when he spoke Tuesday to the Texas Senate Committee for Criminal Justice in Austin.

Bradley, a Williamson County District Attorney, was appointed head of the commission at the beginning of October, just days before the commission was to hear a report on the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, a Corsicana man executed in 2004 for murdering his three daughters in a house fire.

The Innocence Project has challenged the forensics of the case, saying it used faulty science. The fire took place in 1991, and the trial was in 1992. Willingham’s various appeals and pleas for clemency were rejected over the course of his 12 years on death row.

In mid-August 2009, a report by Craig Beyler, a Baltimore fire expert, stated that arson could not be proven in the Willingham case. Opponents of the death penalty have said it’s proof that Willingham was innocent and unjustly executed.

Bradley said he considered it inappropriate for him to talk about pending cases, or express an opinion on a case before it’s heard by the commission.

“Will we proceed with the Willingham case?” he said. “I think I’ve made it clear in my editorial statements that absolutely we will.”

Bradley asked the senators for more resources, including more staff and funding, although he stopped short of requesting subpoena powers for the commission.

Senators told Bradley that they wanted the commission to look into forensics labs that were neglecting duties or producing false reports, and they wanted transparency in the investigations. Several senators also expressed concerns that the commission would become a political pawn in the upcoming governor’s race.

Bradley said he did not see his sudden appointment as a political ploy by Governor Rick Perry.

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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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