Thursday, January 26, 2012

OH Continues to Tinker with Death

Ohio officials have agreed to an order issued by U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost to postpone the February 22nd execution of Michael Webb. Webb is accused of setting the fire that killed his 3 ½ year old son Mikey. Webb continues to assert his innocence and says someone else started the fire.

Webb’s attorneys claim the fire chief on the scene used methods that 20 years of arson science have deemed invalid, according to arson-expert Gerald Hurst. They also contend that police failed to follow up on a lead that pointed to the boyfriend of one of Webb’s daughters.

In an eerily similar Texas case, Todd Willingham was executed for setting a fire that killed his three daughters. After the fact, additional arson experts, hired by the forensic commission concluded that the fire was most likely accidental. Hurst had authored a report that challenged the conclusion made by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s office. The execution went forward despite Hurst’s analysis.

Ohio’s postponement of Webb’s execution is only the most recent one as the state continues to tweak its lethal injection process, which Judge Frost calls “haphazard.”

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