Dear Mr. Bassett:


Thank you for your reply.


It would have been simple and important for you to say that there is already a contradictory report to Beyler, from the Corsicana FD.


It would have been simple and important for you to say that Beyler never said the Willingham fire wasn’t arson and never said it was accidental


Based upon worldwide media reports, that would have cleared up much confusion.


Many, like you, are  sick of the vitriol over the guilt and innocence arguments. It would have been the ideal time for you to correct Barry Scheck, publicly, for his blatantly unsupported claim that ‘There can no longer be any doubt that an innocent person (Willingham) has been executed.” Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck says. (1)


In the spirit of clarity, will you, now, issue a statement covering those three issues? You are, now, in a unique position to bring more reason to this discussion. I hope you choose to do so.


Sincerely, Dudley Sharp


(1) The Innocence Project,



In a message dated 10/15/2009 10:00:05 P.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:

Dear Mr. Sharp:

Thank you for your comments.  Unlike you, I am a novice to these shows and must say that I’m not used to the back and forth format of having to try to deal with a complex topic in a 3-6 minute window.  Most of my trial work involves several hours and/or days of testimony, cross examination, arguments and the like so I hope you’ll give me some latitude in this new arena. 

Having said that, I appreciate your comments and you should know that I am not an opponent of the death penalty and I represent criminal defendants in my criminal law practice and often represent victims of crime in my family law practice. 

One of my great disappointments about recent developments in the Forensic Science Commission is the vitriolic arguments in the case about guilt or innocence as well as the death penalty.  The Commission was committed to findings relating only to the forensic science in the case.  Unfortunately, that good work has been interrupted and/or stopped by recent actions taken by the Governor.

We had only begun our work and had solicited input from the State Fire Marshall’s Office as well as other law enforcement entities who certainly would have held different perspectives than Dr. Beyler.  It was only after a full consideration of same that we were going to render our final report, if I had been permitted to continue.

I was fully aware that the criminal case involved evidence having nothing to do with forensic science and that was one of many reasons I stood for the proposition that the commission would not comment on guilt/innocence issues.

Again, thank you for your input and good luck.

Sam Bassett

5 thoughts on “Re: Reply to Sam Bassett – Cameron Todd Willingham – MSNBC’s HARDBALL

  • October 20, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    It is important to note that Dudley Crawford Sharp III is a self-appointed, un-credentialed expert on the death penalty who is the founder of Justice Matters, an organization he created to advocate the death penalty. He has received much attention on the internet, various publications and in television interviews. However, his credentials are never stated except that he is founder of Justice Matters. Mr. Sharp, in reality, is a Texas real estate broker with an expired license.

  • October 21, 2009 at 12:10 am

    I don’t know who you are Mr. Sheldon. Obviously Mr. Sharp’s expertise on the subject he studies is very upsetting to you.  Rather then discussing the issues or the facts he presents, you attack his credentials.  What are your credentials?

    Mr. Dudley Sharp has proven that he is an expert on the death penalty and a very reliable source of facts.

    Patti March

    Wikipeida describes and expert as:

    An expert (en-us-expert.ogg Audio (US) ) is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be, by virtue of training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual’s opinion. Historically, an expert was referred to as a sage (Sophos). The individual was usually a profound thinker distinguished for wisdom and sound judgment.

    Experts have a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field. In specific fields, the definition of expert is well established by consensus and therefore it is not necessary for an individual to have a professional or academic qualification for them to be accepted as an expert. In this respect, a shepherd with 50 years of experience tending flocks would be widely recognized as having complete expertise in the use and training of sheep dogs and the care of sheep. Another example from computer science is that an expert system may be taught by a human and thereafter considered an expert, often outperforming human beings at particular tasks. In law, an expert witness must be recognized by argument and authority.

  • October 21, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Please tell me why you have confidence in a person about whom you know nothing and who hides their credentials?

  • October 21, 2009 at 3:45 am

    Mr. Sheldon:

    I appreciate your challenge.

    However, I don’t challenge credentials. I challenge facts.

    Some with credentials are idiots and liars. Some without are pretty smart and tell the truth.

    And then there is the reverse and everything in between.

    We both know that to be true, as do we all.

    I never question credentials, It’s not relevent, to me.

    As it is relevent, to you, I will respond. I have none, of the official sort, as everyone, very active in this debate knows. I, simply, have experience and a great deal of research spanning a number of years.

    I presume this is your, link, below. Yes? If so, I don’t care what your credentials are. I only care if you can back up what you say.

    Challenge my work, I will respond.
    That is my MO.

    Patti has known my work for years. She only trusts me because she hasn’t been burned. She could care less that I support the death penalty. She cares greatly that I know what I am talking about. That is my only credential. And it is the only reason she posts my papers.

    She’s also great gal whose been through a lot.

    Is this you?

  • October 23, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    My name is Jonathan Sheldon, an attorney who has defended some high profile clients on death row. I am also the person who spoke on reachmd (Mr. Sharp’s link). Mr. Sharp contacted me and, as I have told him, I did not write any of the above responses and had not previously visited, or even been aware of, this website. I was pleased, however, to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Sharp, as he is a gentleman and we had a very nice conversation.

    — The other Jon Sheldon


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