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Category: Video

“Incendiary”, a New Film on Todd Willingham Case to Premiere at 2011 SXSW Film Festival

By , February 3, 2011

A new documentary entitled “Incendiary” about the Todd Willingham case will have its world premiere at the 2011 SXSW film festival. We will make a trip to the premiere with the participants of the Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break. Watch the trailer of the new Todd Willingham documentary on YouTube (Watch for a shot of last year’s 11th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty in Austin with some of our signs in the trailer).

INCENDIARY is the true story of the conviction and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham for the arson murder of his three children in 1991, and of the resulting scientific, legal and political firestorm that rages today. A potential landmark death penalty case, Willingham’s execution based upon junk science begs re-examinations of other arson convictions, criminal prosecution for obstructors of due process, and a re-evaluation of the law’s ultimate punishment. Equal parts murder mystery, forensic investigation and political drama, INCENDIARY documents the haunted legacy of a prosecution built on ‘folklore’.

The filmmakers are Austin’s own Steve Mims and Joe Bailey. Steve Mims’s award-winning shorts and features have screened in festivals and on television. He teaches at UT Austin. INCENDIARY is UT Law graduate Joe Bailey, Jr.’s first feature-length film. He works as a cinematographer and sound recordist in Austin.

Video: John Bradley Takes Todd Willingham Case Discussion Behind Closed Doors

By , January 24, 2011

Many people and some newspapers have criticized the Texas Forensic Science Commission for carrying on much of its discussions about the Todd Willingham case behind closed doors, either when the subcommittee meets or during executive sessions of the full committee. At last Friday’s meeting on Jan 21, the Commission again went behind closed doors for about an hour. When they returned they decided to seek an opinion from the Texas Attorney General about whether the Commission has jurisdiction in the Willingham case.

Here is a video of Chair John Bradley announcing the Commission will go behind closed doors to confer outside the view of the public.

Now Online: Frontline Documentary about Todd Willingham Case “Death by Fire”

By , October 20, 2010

The new Frontline documentary about the Todd Willingham case, “Death by Fire” aired last night on TV and is now online. Click here to visit the Frontline website and watch the film online. It is embedded below divided into 6 parts.

Frontline also has a DVD of “Death by Fire” available for sale for $24.99.

11th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty
October 30, 2010
2 PM
Austin, Texas
The Capitol (11th and Congress)

Video of Former Texas Governor Mark White on Todd Willingham’s Innocence and Death Penalty Problems

By , October 15, 2010

Former Texas Governor Mark White said in Newsweek about Todd Willingham: “If there’s no arson, there’s no crime, and, therefore, he is innocent.”

Below is a video of Governor White speaking about Todd Willingham and the death penalty after he delivered the summation on behalf of Todd Willingham’s family members at the Court of Inquiry in Austin on October 14, 2010.

Video by Texas Moratorium Network.

News Reports of Court of Inquiry in Todd Willingham Case Oct 14, 2010

By , October 14, 2010

News reports of today’s Court of Inquiry hearing in Todd Willingham innocence case.

The New York Times reports in Family’s Effort to Clear Name Frames Debate on Executions:

But they also say that the hearing is more than symbolic — it could cast in a new light the Lone Star State’s record on executions. And more broadly, they argue, it is a cautionary tale about the power of flawed science to sway a courtroom, and a glaring injustice that could affect debates over the fairness of the death penalty.

That debate has been framed, in part, by a 2006 opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court, in which he said that the dissent in a case had not cited “a single case — not one — in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit.”

Many who oppose the death penalty have taken Justice Scalia’s statement as a challenge, and argue that the Willingham case is their proof.



The Austin American-Statesman reports:

During an unprecedented hearing completed just before an appeals court ordered it to stop, state District Judge Charlie Baird on Thursday heard from two leading fire experts who said Cameron Todd Willingham, executed in 2004, was convicted based on faulty science.

A jury convicted Willingham in 1992 of killing his three young daughters by setting fire to his Corsicana house. Shortly before his execution, the first in a string of experts found that investigators relied on bogus science to determine that the fire was intentionally set.

“There is not a single item of evidence at that fire scene that would even suggest this was arson,” said Gerald Hurst, an Austin chemist who has studied fire for decades.

Lawyers for Willingham’s family petitioned Baird last month to pronounce that Willingham was wrongfully executed and to determine whether there is probable cause that state officials committed a crime in their handling of his case just before execution.

After a hearing that lasted a little more than three hours, Baird said he would make a ruling on the case at a later date.

About that same time — just before 5 p.m. — the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin ordered Baird not to take any further action in the case.

Video Coverage of Today’s News about Possible Court of Inquiry in Todd Willingham case

By , September 24, 2010

Video from Fox 4 in Dallas.

Video Preview of Upcoming PBS Frontline Documentary on Todd Willingham Case

By , September 18, 2010

Death by Fire
On air and online October 19, 2010 at 9:00pm (check local listings)

Click here to watch video preview on Frontline site.

Did Texas execute an innocent man? Several controversial death penalty cases are currently under examination in Texas and in other states, but it’s the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham—convicted for the arson deaths of his three young children—that’s now at the center of the national debate. With unique access to those closest to the case, FRONTLINE examines the Willingham conviction in light of new science that raises doubts about whether the fire at the center of the case was really arson at all. The film meticulously examines the evidence used to convict Willingham, provides an in-depth portrait of those most impacted by the case, and explores the explosive implications of the execution of a possibly innocent man.

11th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty
October 30, 2010 at 2 PM
Texas State Capitol
Austin Texas

Videos of News Coverage of Texas Forensic Science Commission Meeting on Todd Willingham

By , September 18, 2010

Texas Moratorium Network attended the meeting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission on Sept 17, 2010 in Dallas. Below are some media coverage on Dallas TV stations. The yellow and blue signs on the walls in some of the videos were brought to the meeting by TMN.

Video From MyFox Dallas Fort Worth (Contains comments by Rick Perry):

Video from NBC Dallas:

Video from WFAA (ABC) Dallas:

Video of Entire Hour-Plus Long Discussion of Todd Willingham Case at Texas Forensic Science Commission Meeting July 23, 2010

By , July 26, 2010

Below are videos shot by Texas Moratorium Network of the entire discussion on the agenda item dealing with the Todd Willingham case at the Texas Forensic Science Commission on Friday, July 23, 2010 in Houston. The discussion lasted more than an hour. It is divided into seven parts because YouTube limits videos to ten minutes. There are also two shorter videos of Barry Scheck and Patricia Willingham Cox delivering their public comments at the end of the meeting.

Texas Forensic Science Commission Discussion of Todd Willingham Case July 23, 2010 Part 1/7

Texas Forensic Science Commission Discussion of Todd Willingham Case July 23, 2010 Part 2/7

Texas Forensic Science Commission Discussion of Todd Willingham Case July 23, 2010 Part 3/7

Texas Forensic Science Commission Discussion of Todd Willingham Case July 23, 2010, Part 4/7

Texas Forensic Science Commission Discussion of Todd Willingham Case July 23, 2010, Part 5/7

Texas Forensic Science Commission Discussion of Todd Willingham Case July 23, 2010, Part 6/7

Texas Forensic Science Commission Discussion of Todd Willingham Case July 23, 2010, Part 7/7

The videos below are of comments delivered during the public comment period, which took place a couple of hours after the main discussion of the Willingham case by the Commission.

Barry Scheck Speaking to Texas Forensic Science Commission July 23, 2010

Todd Willingham’s Cousin and Stepmother at Texas Forensic Science Commission Meeting July 23, 2010

Video of Barry Scheck Speaking to Texas Forensic Science Commission

By , July 25, 2010

Below is a video of The Innocence Project’s Barry Scheck speaking to Texas Forensic Science Commission in Houston on July 23, 2010. Video was shot by Texas Moratorium Network.

Watch the whole video to understand Barry Scheck’s objections to the Commission’s tentative findings. Click here to watch the video on YouTube or click here to watch it on TMN’s Facebook page.

The final report is not yet complete, so the Commission could still take into account Scheck’s objections.

Around the 3:35 minute is when the fireworks start after John Bradley motions to his assistant that she should tell Scheck that his time is up.


From the Houston Chronicle:

A commission reviewing a disputed arson finding that led to a Corsicana man’s 2004 execution for the deaths of his three young children said in a preliminary report Friday that the fire investigators used flawed science but didn’t commit negligence or misconduct.

Members of the state commission investigating a controversial Corsicana arson case in which three children died — and for which their father was executed — acknowledged on Friday that state and local arson investigators used “flawed science” in determining the blaze had been deliberately set.
But the Texas Forensic Science Commission panel heading the inquiry also found insufficient evidence to prove that state Deputy Fire Marshal Manuel Vasquez and Corsicana Assistant Fire Chief Douglas Fogg were negligent or guilty of misconduct in their arson work.
The investigators, they said, likely used standards accepted in Texas at the time of the fire, which erupted at the home of Cameron Todd Willingham in December 1991. Willingham went to his execution in 2004 proclaiming his innocence in the deaths of his 1-year-old twins and 2-year-old step daughter.
The tentative findings were announced at the commission’s quarterly meeting in Houston.

Commissioners authorized the four-member committee to write a draft report reflecting their findings to be acted on later this summer. The panel, headed by commission Chairman John Bradley, also will solicit more information regarding the state of investigation standards in 1991. It will accept written public comments until Aug. 12.

Friday’s action was the latest chapter in the contentious review of the arson investigators’ work spurred by a complaint filed by the New York-based Innocence Project. The commission is not tasked with determining whether Texas might have executed an innocent man, but whether the arson investigators followed sound scientific principles.
Other reviews critical

At least three expert reviews, including a commission-financed study by Baltimore fire expert Craig Beyler, have been critical of the arson investigations. Burn patterns, multiple points of origin and other phenomenon investigators found at the scene wrongly were interpreted as signs the fire deliberately was set, the experts concluded.

Beyler, who wrote that investigators observed neither the standards of the National Fire Prevention Association, adopted shortly after the blaze, nor standards applicable at the time of the fire, was scheduled to appear before commissioners last September.

Days before the meeting, however, Gov. Rick Perry replaced the commission chairman with Bradley, district attorney in Williamson County. The session at which Beyler was scheduled to speak was canceled, and the fire expert never appeared before the body.
Friday’s action spurred a heated exchange between Bradley and Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck, who bolted from his seat to protest. Bradley repeatedly refused to yield the floor.

Family optimistic

Scheck’s organization argues that the state fire marshal’s office should have been aware of updated arson investigation standards and – in any event – should have advised prosecutors and the court of them when they were adopted.

The new standards went into effect in early 1992.
“It’s alarming that they’ve missed the point of our allegations,” Innocence Project policy director Stephen Saloom said. “The state fire marshal’s office had a continuing duty to inform prosecutors, the court, pardons and paroles or the governor of the unreliability of the old evidence.”

While national fire experts may have known in late 1991 that new standards were in the works, investigation committee members said, it’s possible rank-and-file investigators did not.

Willingham’s mother, Eugenia Willingham, and his cousin, Patricia Cox, who were present for Friday’s session, viewed the commission’s action as a positive development.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Cox said. “We’re Todd’s voice after death. We’re going to exonerate him. We’re not going away.”

Eugenia Willingham said her son would have been pleased. “His wish was that we clear his name,” she said. “He was innocent and prosecuted for something he didn’t do. … I hope that somewhere or other he saw what happened today.”

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