Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cameron Todd Willingham: Texas; Ex-prosecutor John Jackson responds to allegations that he bought the evidence of a cellmate informant: Tells CNN he tried to protect the informant after the case - not to coerce his testimony.

 STORY: "Texas ex-prosecutor  denies wrongdoing in Willingham death penalty," published by CNN on August 5, 2014.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS: Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for killing his 3 children; Innocence Project asks that prosecutor in 1992 case be investigated; Ex-prosecutor: Allegations latest "tack" by death penalty opponents in case;  John Jackson says he tried to protect informant after case, not coerce testimony."

GIST:  "CNN wasn't given a chance to ask Jackson specific questions about the allegations -- namely, reports that numerous fire investigators now say the original conviction was based on outdated arson science and a Marshall Project allegation that a wealthy businessman with connections to Jackson provided Webb money and favors. Jackson did, however, provide a 250-word response to some of the allegations against him. "The new tack is that I promised the jailhouse witness Webb leniency if he would testify that Willingham confessed," Jackson wrote. "This is patently untrue and I interviewed Webb before others and very sincerely advised him that I could offer him nothing in return for his testimony." After "supposedly reputable journalists," whom Jackson didn't name, outed Webb as a snitch who had cooperated with authorities, the white supremacist gang, the Aryan Brotherhood, began threatening Webb. There were also efforts by Willingham's defense team and prison guards colluding with the Aryan Brotherhood to coerce Webb to recant, and a journalist even tried to bribe the informant, Jackson wrote. "AFTER (emphasis Jackson's) the Willingham trial I did everything in my power to prevent his being killed by the (Aryan Brotherhood)," he said. "Webb wrote letters warning that he would be forced to write a recantation because of death threats from the (Aryan Brotherhood) and their stooge prison guard, but that the recantation would be false." Jackson also alluded in his e-mail to Willingham's ex-wife's claim that Willingham confessed to her before his execution. Indeed, in 2010, responding to the Willingham family's push to have her former husband's name cleared, Stacy Kuykendall told reporters gathered at an Austin courthouse that Willingham admitted setting the blaze.......... In his e-mail to CNN, Jackson did not address the arson science used in the investigation, but he wrote in a 2009 guest column for the Corsicana Daily Sun that there was sufficient evidence of Willingham's guilt without the problematic findings in the arson report. "The Willingham trial has become a sort of cause celebre by anti-death penalty proponents because it seems to be an example of outmoded scientific techniques which led to a miscarriage of justice," he said. "In fact, the trial testimony (the newspaper) reported in 1991 contains overwhelming evidence of guilt completely independent of the undeniably flawed forensic report." He pointed to seven factors that he said helped establish Willingham's guilt, including his violent past, evidence showing someone had blocked the door's back home with a refrigerator, the "superficial" nature of Willingham's burns and an analysis suggesting Willingham hadn't inhaled excessive smoke, as he claimed, during his rescue attempt."

The entire story can be found at:


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