Rick Perry today vigorously defended his cover up of the execution of an innocent person in Texas by calling Todd Willingham a "monster". Eugenia Willingham, Todd's mother, responded to Perry's statement by telephone on tonight's CNN AC360, saying that Todd loved his kids and that Todd told her his trial was "a big joke" in part because his own defense lawyer thought he was guilty.
Kay Bailey Hutchison said today that Rick Perry's actions and cover up has given "liberals" a valid issue to criticize the death penalty.
Dr. Craig Beyler was quoted on CNN tonight saying that Rick Perry's new appointees to the Texas Forensic Science Commission should resign to restore integrity to the process. Beyler also said Perry is using his political clout to protect himself.
"As hard as Rick Perry's office and his campaign may try to divert from the issue, this is not about one man or one case. The issue is Rick Perry's heavy-handed politicization of a process and Commission established by the legislature to provide critical oversight. First, Rick Perry delayed the formation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, then he tried to ensure it didn't have funding and when all else failed, he fired everyone he could. The only thing Rick Perry's actions have accomplished is giving liberals an argument to discredit the death penalty. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a steadfast supporter of the death penalty, voted to reinstate it when she served in the Texas House and believes we should never do anything to create a cloud of controversy over it with actions that look like a cover-up."
Beyler is quoted in the Dallas Morning News saying that Perry has a conflict of interest and should have not upended the investigation:
"his (Perry's) failure to recuse himself is both unethical and injurious to the cause of justice," Beyler wrote in a note intended for the Forensic Science Commission and forwarded to several reporters with his permission.
Call Perry's office at 512 463 1782 and demand that he release the memo he received from his staff on the day of Willingham's execution and all information that he is refusing to release regarding Willingham.
Plan to attend the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 24 in Austin at the Texas Capitol. We plan to deliver the petition that day. Members of Todd Willingham's family are expected to attend the march and rally and help us deliver the petition signatures.
Todd Willingham was executed for arson/murder on February 17, 2004. He professed his innocence from his arrest until he was strapped down on the execution gurney. Now, we know for certain that he was telling the truth. On August 25, 2009, Dr Craig Beyler, the investigator hired by the Texas Forensic Science Commission to review the Willingham case, released his report in which he found that "a finding of arson could not be sustained" by a scientific analysis (Read the report here). He concluded that the fire in the Willingham case was accidental and not arson. In fact, there was no arson, so there was no crime. Texas executed an innocent person. The proven execution of an innocent person should mean the end of the death penalty in the United States.
You can also send Perry a letter in the postal mail to the mailing address:
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
You can also call him on the phone and leave him a message: