5-3-06 - An Ardmore family says inaccurate testimony helped lead to their son’s execution for murder in 2004. Now a non-profit group called the Innocence Project agrees, and is hoping to change the way arson experts testify in Texas courtrooms.
Cameron Willingham was convicted for setting a house fire that killed his three daughters back in 1991 in Corsicana, Texas. Prosecution witnesses at the time said he just wanted to get rid of them. They presented expert testimony that said indicators like cracked glass and burn marks proved the fires had been set.
But this week in Austin, celebrity attorney Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project said they have proof that each one of those indicators used to prove arson are scientifically incorrect. The Innocence Project submitted a report to the Texas Forensic Science Commission. That report was put together by a panel of private fire investigators, which claim new technology shows the fire could have been accidental.
A new state commission will now review the case along with several other arson convictions.
If the innocence project sounds familiar, they should. The first case they took on helped free two Ada men from Oklahoma’s death row in the late 1990's.