Sunday, 4 October 2009

Texas governor accused of covering up innocent man’s execution

The head of a Texas anti-death penalty group has accused that state's governor of scuttling an investigation into a possible wrongful execution for political reasons.

"[Texas Governor Rick] Perry saw the writing on the wall," Scott Cobb, president of the Texas Moratorium Network, told CNN. "He moved to cover that up."

The "writing on the wall" Cobb was referring to was the investigation by the Texas Forensic Science Commission into the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was put to death in 2004 for the 1991 arson deaths of his three daughters.

Forensic investigations done since Willingham's conviction have found no evidence of arson. Nonetheless, Perry refused to grant Willingham a stay of execution in 2004, even though credible questions had already been raised about Willingham's guilt.

On Wednesday, Gov. Perry ordered the removal of three members of the forensics commission, and instituted a "political ally," as CNN described him, to head the committee. That ally is reported to have ordered the investigation into Willingham's execution delayed indefinitely, saying he "couldn't begin to guess" when the commission would reconvene.


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