Texans rally against death penalty

Oct. 25, 2009 at 5:30 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Anti-execution activists say the state of Texas must end its death penalty practices.

The 10th annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty held Saturday in Austin drew hundreds of anti-death penalty activists, many spurred by the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004 after a scientific report cast doubt on his 1991 triple murder conviction, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been criticized for allegedly failing to read a fire scientist's report questioning Willingham's then-pending execution for the deaths of his three daughters in a house fire. Perry has responded by describing Willingham as a "monster" and saying he is certain of his guilt.

Jeff Blackburn, founder of the Innocence Project of Texas, attended the march and told the American-Statesman the Willingham case "represents an opportunity for Texas to fix a broken criminal justice system."

The newspaper said some protesters carried posters bearing the names of hundreds of inmates executed in Texas since 1982.

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