In the midst of a national frenzy surrounding the Casey Anthony verdict, the state of Texas executed a Mexican national, Humberto Leal Garcia. No one disputes or denies the viciousness behind his brutal rape and murder of a 16 year old girl in 1994. However, Mr. Garcia was never granted his legal right to contact the Mexican Embassy, and his execution took place in spite of appeals from the President, the State Department, the United Nations, and the Vatican (among others). Texas Governor Rick Perry, rumored to be considering a run for President, apparently felt his "tough guy" stance might prove politically expedient.
It makes you wonder what he might do in the case of a man who was actually innocent.
In 2004 Perry oversaw the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, a man who had been convicted for the alleged arson murder of his three young children. Except, the evidence used to convict Willingham is now universally regarded as having been the product of shoddy science and obsolete investigation techniques.
This developing consensus was brought to Perry's attention before the execution, but he simply chose to ignore the facts. Willingham, naturally (and quite correctly), maintained his innocence right up until his execution on 2/17/04. Not only had Perry denied motions for clemency, he subsequently responded to a question as to whether or not he'd executed an innocent man by flippantly stating "he was a wife beater". Perry has consistently done his best to thwart any investigation into the truth of the matter. In fact, he went so far as to remove three members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission days before that body was set to meet in order to discuss a report that cast serious doubt on the evidence used to forever silence Willingham. That meeting never took place.
Governor Perry's arrogance and indifference have somehow played well in Texas; hopefully he'll receive a much different reception elsewhere.
It's seven years too late, but Cameron Todd Willingham's voice deserves to be heard.
Rick Perry for President??? Really?