RE: Analyzing a story: “Records: Willingham’s innocence in fire unclear, Dallas Morning News, October 25, 2009)

 

From: Dudley Sharp, contact info below

 

The DMN made some errors but they may have located some real reporters.

 

I have DMN quotes, and

then my “reply”.


DMN: “Willingham, while never wavering in his denial of wrongdoing, did much that tended to incriminate him.”

 

REPLY: This may be false and these 3 reporters should have known it. The testimony at trial was that Willingham did confess to murdering his three daughters, to a fellow inmate. There is also a claim that Willingham confessed to his wife. While both are challenged, that does not establish that neither confession occurred. I think we will have to wait and see. The inmate confession has been supported by the recent revelation that Willingham told the inmate he spread an accelerant, in an X pattern, on the girl’s bedroom floor. The inmate testified to that at trial and investigators have stated that no other party informed the inmate of that X pattern. In other words, the only source was Willingham. Again, we need to wait for any further confirmation or denial which may be forthcoming.

 

A correction of your error is requested.

 

DMN: “He consistently gave investigators a version of his actions inside the burning house that makes little sense when paired against undisputed facts and official photos. He gave relatives, friends and others contradictory stories, according to their written statements.”

 

Reply: Finally. Thank you.  Next time, do a thorough review, in detail, of the total nonsense that Willingham spewed, inclusive of the confession to his parents that he never tried to save the children. When those details come up, any claims of innocence MIGHT just vanish.

 

DMN: “Gov. Rick Perry, who ignored last-minute pleas to delay the convicted man’s execution, has said he has no doubt that Willingham was a remorseless “monster” who deserved his fate.”

 

reply: Ugh. There is no evidence that the Governor ignored anything. Is there? Of course not. He rejected the evidence, the Hurst report, as a reason to stay Willingham’s execution, just as the US Supreme Court, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had.

 

A correction of your error is requested.

 

DMN: “Even if it turns out there’s no scientific proof of arson, Perry said last month, there would still be “clear and compelling, overwhelming evidence that he was in fact the murderer of his children.” But Perry has refused to specify what evidence he means.”

 

reply: I think he’s hoping that the media might just fact check and do their jobs. Read the trial transcripts and the police/witness statements. Be thorough in your reporting. Is that too much to ask?

 

DMN: “Some of the more recent fire experts’ findings are less clear than Willingham’s supporters suggest.” “The most recent expert to file a report, Craig Beyler, criticized the original investigation and said it didn’t prove arson, but acknowledged that his report also didn’t rule out arson. “That is correct,” he said in an interview about his report. “Some people are interpreting it more strongly.”

 

reply: More accurately, in some case, the folks are lying.  It is unfortunate that Beyler can’t bring himself to be more clear. I think it just bolsters Perry’s claim that Beyler has some agenda. Hey. Dr. Beyler, is this true?: I (Beyler) can’t determine if the fire was arson or an accident, by forensic science, alone. It could have been arson. It could have been an accident.” FYI. It is true. Ask him. Actually, he did later in the article. Hey, DMN, better late than never.

 

DMN: Willingham: “next thing I remember is hearing, ‘Daddy, Daddy,’ ” he said, according to the interview transcript. “When I heard that last ‘Daddy’ and woke up, you know, the house was already full of smoke.” “He said he couldn’t tell where the voice was coming from and cried out, “Oh God, Amber, get out of the house,” but heard nothing more from her.”

 

reply: Among the many things that destroy Willingham’s credibility is this. He told many folks that his was with Amber and, to some, he told that he actually had a hold of her, but she broke loose from him. The contradiction is so stark, there is no doubt that Willingham is an obvious liar. When you ask the question “Why would lie?” fill in the blanks.

 

DMN: ‘Next, he said, he went to the girls’ smoky room, where fire was raging near the ceiling, and stepped over the baby gate instead of opening it. His hair caught fire; he put it out and stayed near the floor. He felt where he had left the twins and “around most of the room,” couldn’t find anyone and fled the intense heat out the front door.”

 

reply: According to the New Yorker article, Willingham fabricated the rescue stories. Willingham allegedly confessed to his parents that he was a coward, afraid of the fire and did not attempt to save the children.  This needs to be confirmed and fact checked. Anyone done that yet? If not, why not?

 

NOTE: As Fire Marshal Vasquez said “I never asked him any questions. (Willingham) just talked and he talked, and all he did was lie.”

 

DMN: “Jurors paid little attention to the testimony of a mentally ill career criminal named Johnny Webb, (juror) Brokofsky said.

 

reply: That’s, likely, true. To state the obvious, mentally ill career criminals do not a reliable witness make. However, if what Webb stated was true and Webb wasn’t informed of the X pattern, by anyone else, then the only way he could have found out about it was if Willingham confessed to the murder/arson. DMN get on this.

 

DMN: “Brokofsky said she has been contacted by some news organizations that seem to have decided that Willingham is innocent. “They’re wanting me to say I can’t sleep at night. They want me to say I did wrong,” she said. “I can’t say that.”

 

NOTE: I think that draws a pretty accurate picture of “journalism” standards for much of the coverage. Pathetic.

 

DMN: Gerald Hurst’s “affidavit, filed in the trial court, said “most of the conclusions” reached by fire marshal Vasquez “would be considered invalid in light of current knowledge” in the fire investigation field. It said the finding of multiple origins – a persuasive sign of arson – “was inappropriate even in the context of the state of the art in 1991.”

 

reply: In the New Yorker article, Hurst said “It was impossible to determine the origin of the fire.”

 

DMN: “Hurst did not express an opinion about what caused the fire in the affidavit. However, in a letter sent to Perry on Feb. 13, 2004, requesting a 30-day reprieve for his client, Willingham’s attorney stated “Dr. Hurst’s opinion is that the fire was not intentionally set.”

 

reply: Has anyone in the media blasted the attorney for saying that? Of course not. What bias?

 

DMN: “The Innocence Project followed in 2006 with a report by one of the Tribune’s experts and four other scientists who found the Willingham fire was not arson.”

 

reply: This is very important and goes to confusion and misdirection, no matter how intended or innocent. There is no evidence in their report that says it was not arson or where they identified the source of the fire, there is only a statement, in the executive summary that the fire was not an incendiary fire. I have sent out an inquiry on this to forensic fire experts, 10/23/09, as follows:

 

To: Fire Expert
RE: Innocence Project Report: Cameron Todd Willingham Fire
From: Dudley Sharp

 

Can you clarify?

 

In the Willingham case, the Innocent Project Report (IPR), in their Executive Summary, found the Willingham fire was not an incendiary fire. http://www.innocenceproject.org/docs/ArsonReviewReport.pdf
 
The IPR provided no evidence to support that conclusion and no origin for the fire was identified.

 

The conclusion may only go to a professional standard that says, if you can’t prove it’s arson, then it is accidental.

 

Is that the context? Is that the standard?

 

Sincerely, Dudley Sharp


NOTE: The answer must be yes, because the IPR did not reveal any evidence that excluded arson or identified the source of the fire.

 

DMN: Beyler’s “report did not try to explain Willingham’s inconsistencies and adopted at least one of his claims as fact: that Amber was in her own bed right before the fire.” “(Beyler) said he didn’t realize until The News told him that her body was found with the sheet pulled up near her shoulders, raising the question whether she was tucked in her parents’ bed all along.”

 

reply: THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A “WHOA” MOMENT FOR THE DMN. I CONTEND THAT THE BEYLER REPORT REALLY IS THAT BAD WITH THE EVIDENCE AND IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE FOR BEYLER AS ADDITONAL PROBLEMS ARE REVEALED. DO YOU NEED MORE OF A REASON FOR PERRY TO DELAY HEARINGS, THAN TEXAS HIRED AN EXPERT THAT CAN’T GET BASIC FACTS STRAIGHT?

 

ANSWER. HELL NO!

 

THE MEDIA SHOULD HAVE POUNCED ON THIS RIGHT AWAY. BUT, HECK, IMPORTANT FACTS AREN’T NEARLY AS MUCH FUN AS BEATING UP ON A PRO DEATH PENALTY TEXAS GOVERNOR.

 

Dallas Morning News. GOOD JOB.

 

Sincerely, Dudley Sharp
e-mail  sharpjfa@aol.com,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O’Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.


 

4 thoughts on “RE: Analyzing a story: “Records: Willingham’s innocence in fire unclear, Dallas Morning News, October 25, 2009)

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