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October 28th, 2009
09:52 PM ET

Letters from death row

A photograph of Cameron Todd Willingham.

A photograph of Cameron Todd Willingham.

Randi Kaye| BIO
AC360° Correspondent

I have been reporting on Cameron Todd Willingham for a few years now.

He’s the Texas man who was convicted of “arson homicide” and executed on February 17, 2004, after 12 years of claiming innocence on death row.

Texas Governor Rick Perry refused to grant him a stay even though new evidence had come to light in the days before the execution that there was no evidence of arson at Willingham’s Corsicana, Texas home. His three little girls died in the fire. His wife at the time was out shopping for Christmas presents.

Have you ever wondered what a death row inmate thinks while the time ticks away, while he waits to die? Below you will find some of Todd Willingham’s most intimate thoughts about death, about his conviction and about his wife and the daughters lost in the fire.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Randi Kaye • Willingham
October 23rd, 2009
11:52 PM ET

Did Texas execute an innocent man?

Program Note: Watch Randi Kaye's full report – including her interview with David Martin tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

A photograph of Cameron Todd Willingham.

A photograph of Cameron Todd Willingham.

Randi Kaye| BIO
AC360° Correspondent

I came to Texas this week to look deeper into a story I’ve been covering for a few years now for AC360°.

It’s the story of Cameron Todd Willingham, a father of three who was executed in February 2004 for setting a fire that killed his three daughters. But what if he didn’t set it? What if he just got a lame defense? Is it possible?

We wanted to know why he was convicted of “arson homicide” even though since the trial nine leading arson experts have said the fire showed no evidence of arson. So why was he executed?

We went straight to one of Willingham’s defense attorneys, David Martin, for some answers. We met at his Waco office, hours away from where the fire took place in the tiny town of Corsicana. Martin’s office was true Texas. It felt more like a ranch than a law office. We sat down in a couple of over-sized chairs (everything is bigger in Texas, you know) and talked about the case.

I asked Martin how it was possible that the prosecution put two experts on the stand who said the fire was arson, and yet Martin didn’t put anyone on the stand to refute their arguments. Why no expert to say the fire wasn’t arson in Willingham’s defense?

Martin told me, “We couldn’t find one that said it wasn’t arson.”

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Filed under: 360º Follow • Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye • Willingham