Friday, October 16, 2009

Lethally inject first, ask questions later in Texas

Ever wonder if the justice system in this country has ever put an innocent man to death? After you read "Trial By Fire" by David Grann in The New Yorker you won't have to wonder any more.

Todd Willingham was sentenced to death for the supposed arson death of his three little girls. It turns out, he didn't do it, but junk science and egos made sure he was put to death any way.

While in prison he wrote poems (because poetry is the respite of the desperate)

"Willingham was held in isolation in a sixty-square-foot cell, twenty-three hours a day," Grann writes. "He tried to distract himself by drawing--'amateur stuff,' as he put it--and writing poems. In a poem about his children, he wrote, 'There is nothing more beautiful than you on this earth.' When [a friend] once suggested some possible revisions to his poems, he explained that he wrote them simply as expressions, however crude, of his feelings. 'So to me to cut them up and try to improve on them just for creative-writing purposes would be to destroy what I was doing to start with,' he said."

UPDATE: Is Texas Gov. Rick Perry trying to cover up the current investigation into Willingham's execution? It sure seems like it.


(Laura) said...

When I sent this to you, I totally didn't even realize there was a poetry connection. I just know you're all into true crime stuff. But this is seriously one of the most amazing articles I've ever read, and the type of journalism that's slowly disappearing from American discourse. Yes, it's "long" but read it anyway.

Anonymous said...

This article made me want to die and then it made me feel badly for wanting to die since an innocent man died.


dudleysharp said...

Cameron Todd Willingham: Media meltdown & the death penalty:"Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?", by David Grann

Other articles on the Cameron Todd Willingham case