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The Washington Post has just published an article headlined "Fresh doubts over a Texas execution" on the front page of their website; it blows open the case involving the execution of Todd Willingham, the execution of an innocent man.

Todd Willingham was convicted of killing all three of his children by arson and executed in Texas in 2004.  Prior to his execution there was compelling evidence that the forensic 'science' used in the trial to convict him was little more than amateur spit-balling at best, and the new forensic evidence could have been reviewed by Gov. Rick Perry but he refused and Todd Willingham was executed.

The Post's story focuses not on the exculpatory forensic evidence, but the conduct of the prosecutor, John Jackson:

"In a grievance filed July 25 with the State Bar of Texas, the Innocence Project, a New York-based advocacy group that has investigated the Willingham case for a decade, argued that Jackson’s conduct “violated his professional, ethical and constitutional obligations.” The group called for a full investigation of Jackson’s handling of the case and argued that he could be sanctioned or even criminally prosecuted for falsifying official records, withholding evidence from the defense, suborning perjury and obstructing justice."
Jackson spent years working to ensure that the star jail house witness who testified against Willingham, Johnny Webb, gave the testimony to begin with and then didn't recant it in the ensuing years by funneling money through a wealthy local citizen, Charles Pearce.  Pearce gave thousands of dollars to Webb over the years to ensure his cooperation and silence, but Pearce died in 2008 and now Webb is talking.

The State of Texas executed an innocent man who lost his three children in a tragic fire.  Rick Perry had the power to keep this from happening but he was too anxious to chalk up another execution on his score board to even consider that as a possibility.

If this doesn't end Rick Perry's further political aspirations then we do live in a sad, sad, time.

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