Perry replaces 4th forensics board member

Oct. 11, 2009 at 7:43 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he has replaced another member of the state board investigating allegations an innocent man was executed.

Perry's office said Sunday he has named the fourth replacement member of the nine-member Forensic Science Commission since Sept. 30, the most he is constitutionally allowed to replace, CNN reported.

Perry's critics charge the forensics board replacements are politically motivated as it is examines the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, executed in 2004 after being convicted of killing his three daughters in a 1991 house fire. Willingham's attorneys and supporters say Perry ignored late-emerging evidence that forensic evidence used to convict him was botched.

The Houston Chronicle reported Sunday that documents obtained through a public records request indicate Perry's office received a fax 88 minutes before Willingham's execution detailing an arson expert's opinion that evidence used at the man's trial was tainted by "major errors" and relied on discredited arson examination techniques.

Perry spokesman Chris Cutrone told the newspaper "there was ample time for the (state's) general counsel to read and analyze the report and to brief the governor on its content."

The governor has said there was sufficient evidence to convict Willingham.

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