Truth to Power

Gov. Perry kills investigation into wrongful execution

Texas governor dismisses 3 members of panel investigating arson finding that led to execution

A report concluding a faulty investigation led to a Texas man’s execution won’t be reviewed by a state board as planned Friday after Gov. Rick Perry abruptly removed three people from the panel, forcing the meeting’s cancellation.

Perry, who has said the execution was appropriate, replaced the head of the Texas Forensic Science Commission and two of its eight other board members Wednesday. The upheaval on the commission came just 48 hours before it was to consider a report critical of the arson finding leading to Cameron Todd Willingham’s execution for the deaths of his three daughters in a 1991 fire.

Baltimore-based arson expert Craig Beyler, who was hired by the commission, concluded the arson finding was scientifically unsupported and investigators at the scene had “poor understandings of fire science.” His report has bolstered arguments from advocacy groups that Willingham was innocent and wrongly executed.

Perry told The Associated Press the terms of the dismissed board members were expiring and replacing them “was pretty standard business as usual.” But several board members have served more than one term and had their appointments renewed.

Earlier this month, Perry expressed confidence in Willingham’s guilt and derided reports questioning the arson investigation, referring to their authors as “supposed experts.” He said he had not “seen anything that would cause me to think that the decision” to execute Willingham “was not correct.”</em>

Explain again why we allow the state to kill us?


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