October 1st, 2009
12:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Texas governor shakes up panel probing 2004 execution

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has shaken up a state commission that is probing whether a man executed in 2004 belonged on death row.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has shaken up a state commission that is probing whether a man executed in 2004 belonged on death row.

DALLAS, Texas (CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry has shaken up a state commission that is probing whether a man executed in 2004 belonged on death row. Perry's move forces the commission to delay a scheduled hearing on the case.

The governor acted two days before the commission was to hear from an expert who has cast doubt about the quality of the arson investigation that helped convict Cameron Todd Willingham of murder in the deaths of his three daughters in a fire at their home.

Death-penalty opponents say a thorough review of the Willingham case may force Texas to admit that it executed an innocent man. The Texas governor and others, however, say they remain convinced of Willingham's guilt.

Perry replaced the chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission and declined to reappoint two commission members. The commission was to hear testimony Friday from Craig Beyler, an arson investigation expert. He wrote the latest of three reports critical of the testimony that helped prosecutors convict Willingham of murder in 1992.

The governor's office told CNN the moves were a routine replacement of members whose terms had expired.

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Filed under: Rick Perry
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. victoria---texas

    i'm soooo tired of this guy! the only reason why he won the last election was because too many people were running. he won with 39% of the vote! Fellow Texans, please don't let this man win again.

    KINKY FRIEDMAN FOR GOVERNOR 2010!!!!!

    October 1, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Texas Republican

    I'm a faithful Texas Republican - usually. But I have been against Perry from the very start. He's corrupt and evil. His under the table deals with foreign corporations, construction firms, and pharmaceutical companies are well-known here. And he may be afraid of any "arson" committee, since the governor's mansion itself was mysteriously "burned down" on his watch.

    I usually vote Republican, but I voted for a Democrat in the last gubernatorial election - it was really hard since the Demo's name was "Noriega."

    Neither Perry nor Hutchison will ever get a vote from me.

    But all you people who hate Texas so much. Give me a break. What's the matter with you? We're far better off than most of you.

    October 1, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. liberals make me puke

    The difference about you liberals is this: conservatives at least try & convict the person for a felony BEFORE we use the death penalty. Convicted felons have an appeals process.

    You liberals murder your own children......I love the way you think....what did the baby do to you? Inconvenienced you a bit? What did the baby do wrong? Where is the babies right to jury trail of it's peers before you suck them apart and throw them in the garbage? Where was the baby's appeals? If you are pro-choice on murdering your own innocent children, then all these crocodile tears over convicted felons is the highest of hypocrisy.

    You all are all about twisting, straining and violating the Constituion when it suits you. Maybe you should try reading it for a change.

    And BTW just for giggles, it was CHICAGO home of your Messiah that has the worst record of executing innocent people.

    October 1, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. Fenarkleman

    Looks like Rick Perry's conscience has seceded from his dark soul. How do you sleep at night knowing you may have executed an innocent man?

    October 1, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Jilli

    Perry is as inept in running TX as bush was. In fact, a trained monkey would probably be more competent than either of those two. C'mon mr. perry, give us a little speech about accountability, after you look the word up in the dictionary.

    October 1, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Sharon

    Lying scum. Governor will have to answer for this eventually. I don't know what he is running for next, but I can bet that with this kind of crap on his record, he won't win.

    October 1, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. Steven

    The Price of Democracy: If you wish to live in a country where it is impossible to ever be killed by the state for a crime you did NOT commit, then you MUST be able to live with the fact that guilty murderers will live out their lives in jails that are supported by tax dollars.

    Isn't it worth it? To know and have the assurance that you, or a loved one such as a spouse or child, will NEVER be killed by the state for a crime they didn't commit? That you will NEVER have your life taken from you while the person who actually committed the crime lives a FREE life?

    People are NOT perfect...and that includes policemen and judges. Therefore, it is makes perfect sense that innocent men and women have been killed by the state for crimes they haven't committed. It should be a no brainer. ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY NOW.

    October 1, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Grahame

    This does surprise me in the slightest. The usual GOP tactic is to fire anyone who disagrees with them. George Bush/Valeri Plame etc;
    God what a sick country you live in. Don't come to Canada Republicans you are not welcome here

    October 1, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Barbara Independent in NY

    Was this guy this crazy when he was first elected? Does anyone else smell cover up?

    October 1, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. JimTX

    Perry is a crook, an immoral one at that. He cares more about his own image and political aspirations than justice.

    October 1, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    I live in Texas and if you got somebody on death row you want killed then this is the place to be. Don't matter if they're white, black, latino, male, female they clean them all out down here. In fact seeing this was once the wild wild west I wouldn't doubt that if they could still hang them high here they would. The reddest of red states doesn't believe in saving death row convicts...even if there might be a slight chance they were innocent to begin with.

    October 1, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. SMP

    Mr. Perry, I am a Texas resident, but more importantly, a Texas voter, who is going to try to make sure you never see the Governor's mansion after next year

    Rick Perry is like George W. Bush. The laws of this country and the state of Texas, don't apply to them. They do whatever they want and hide behind their bibles to justify their actions.

    October 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. Fortuneman

    I'm from TX and am embarrassed at what represents leadership here. I too have voted against Perry every time and hopefully someone will replace him this time around. Please don't think all Texans agree with this man. The last time he won the Governors' Race it was only by 39%, hence his popular nickname here "Governor 39%."

    October 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Jay T.

    This is someone's child we are talkling about here, you scumbag! I wonder if he'd use the same political tactics if it was one of his children.

    October 1, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Roy Arellano (San Antonio)

    Truth is a funny thing; perception (bastardized truth) cuts both ways. Regardless of the reason, it now looks like there is an attempt to prevent potential justice to be served.

    No one would stake their lives or that of their own children’s lives on the claim that our legal/judicial system is 100% perfect. Until then maybe we should, since we all contribute to incarceration and death penalty through our taxes, put the death penalty on hold. Am I against the death penalty...NO, it is a justifiable means to punish individuals in the most heinous of crimes. Do I believe that many are put to death when they were truly innocent, YES, until the legal/judicial system is 100% perfect this will be a tragic risk?

    October 1, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Corey

    That's why we need to get rid of this clown!

    Kay Bailey Hutchinson '10!

    October 1, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. WhoCares?

    So sad. What has America come to when trying to find out if someone was killed by mistake needs to be blocked.

    We have never been farther from the teachings of Christ then we are now.

    October 1, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. john u

    I guess Perry wants to cover up the fact that he murdered someone before the governors election in November. And he alleges that he's a big time christian.....such bunk and lies

    October 1, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Rick

    PLEASE, Gov. Perry, let's not go back and calcualte the number of members you replaced under such conditions over your feeble administration. YOU LOSE!

    Be a pol all you want, I will work everyday from here on in to defeat your reelection. Retire with your buddy George. He's not far away, IF he answers your phone call......................

    October 1, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Rick

    PLEASE, Gov. Perry, let's not go back and calculate the number of members you replaced under such conditions over your feeble administration. YOU LOSE!

    Be a pol all you want, I will work everyday from here on in to defeat your reelection. Retire with your buddy George. He's not far away, IF he answers your phone call......................

    October 1, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Remove the Death Penalty in Texas and you take away all their fun.

    October 1, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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