Although he was executed in 2004, Cameron Todd Willingham continued to make headlines in 2010. Willingham was convicted of killing his three daughters in 1992, and spent 12 years on Texas’ death row.
However, his case is still being used by the Innocence Project as an example of mishandled justice. The Innocence Project claims Willingham didn’t set the fire, arguing that he proclaimed his innocence and science didn’t prove the arson.
His ex-wife claims he confessed having set the fire to her when she visited him before his execution, and that he did it because she was going to divorce him and he didn’t want his children raised by someone else.
In 2010, the Texas Forensics Science Commission came out with a draft report stating there was no malfeasance in the science investigation, but the full panel refused to accept the report as final, demanding more work on the case.
Also in 2010, District Judge Charles Baird convened a hearing in Austin to consider whether or not Willingham’s name should be cleared and he declared innocent. In mid-December, the Texas Appeals Court stated that Baird should have recused himself, or at least turned the case over to an administrative judge to decide on who should hear the issue.
Local investigators continue to argue that Willingham was found guilty on the entirety of the case, not just the arson charge, and that they took every step to insure the case was handled correctly.
At year’s end, the Innocence Project has appealed the December ruling rebuking Baird for his inquiry into the case.