#6 of Top Ten Texas Death Penalty Stories of 2015: State Bar of Texas Accuses Willingham’s Prosecutor John Jackson of Misconduct
As 2015 draws to a close Texas Moratorium Network looks back on the top Texas death penalty news stories of the year. Each day, we will update this post with another Texas death penalty news story that broke in 2015. They will continue to post the list of ten top Texas death penalty news stories each day until they reach number one. See full list here.
6) Todd Willingham’s prosecutor John Jackson was accused of misconduct that led to wrongful conviction and execution of innocent man. In a major turn in one of the country’s most-noted death penalty cases, the State Bar of Texas on March 5 filed a formal accusation of misconduct against John Jackson, the county prosecutor who convicted Cameron Todd Willingham, a Texas man executed in 2004 for the arson murder of his three young daughters. The Marshall Project reported that “following a preliminary inquiry that began last summer, the bar this month filed a disciplinary petition in Navarro County District Court accusing the former prosecutor, John H. Jackson, of obstruction of justice, making false statements and concealing evidence favorable to Willingham’s defense.” It accuses Jackson of having intervened repeatedly to help a jailhouse informant, Johnny E. Webb, in return for his testimony that Willingham confessed the murders to him while they were both jailed in Corsicana, the Navarro county seat.
New evidence emerged that indicates that a key prosecution witness testified in return for a secret promise to have his own criminal sentence reduced. “In a previously undisclosed letter that the witness, Johnny E. Webb, wrote from prison in 1996, he urged the lead prosecutor in Willingham’s case to make good on what Webb described as an earlier promise to downgrade his conviction. Webb also hinted that he might make his complaint public, reported the Washington Post.