Cameron Todd Willingham: A Timeline

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004, convicted of igniting the 1991 blaze that destroyed his home and killed his three young daughters. He insisted on his innocence until he was put to death. The State Fire Marshal's office concluded the fire was arson. Since then several experts have questioned the evidence used to reach that conclusion, and the case has remained highly controversial. The Forensic Science Commission has been investigating the science used to convict Willingham for years and released a draft report Thursday in advance of its public meeting. Below is a timeline of the major events in the Willingham saga.

TODD WILLINGHAM: A TIMELINE FIRE  DEC 23, 1991 Todd Willingham’s three young children perish when  the family home burns down in Huntsville, Texas.
WILLINGHAM  CONVICTED OF  MURDER AUG 21, 1992 record of conviction
HURST REPORT RELEASED  AUG 21, 1992 FEB 13, 2004 Willingham’s attorneys release a report by Dr. Gerald  Hurst on flaws in the case’s fire investigation. They ask  the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute  Willingham’s sentence and request a reprieve from  Governor Rick Perry. Neither is granted. dr. gerald hurst report
WILLINGHAM  EXECUTED  FEB 17, 2004 final statement: “Yeah. The only statement I want to make  is that I am an innocent man - convicted of  a crime I did not commit. I have been persecuted for 12 years for something I did not  do. From God's dust I came and to dust I  will return - so the earth shall become my  throne. I gotta go, road dog. I love you  Gabby.” [Remaining portion of statement  omitted due to profanity.]
TEXAS FORENSIC SCIENCE  COMMISSION ESTABLISHED SEP 1, 2005 texas forensic science commission actTEXAS FORENSIC SCIENCE  COMMISSION ESTABLISHED SEP 1, 2005 texas forensic science commission actTEXAS FORENSIC SCIENCE  COMMISSION ESTABLISHED SEP 1, 2005 texas forensic science commission act
INNOCENCE PROJECT† COMPLAINT MAY 1, 2006 innocence project letter
FORENSIC SCIENCE COMMISSION AGREES  TO HEAR WILLINGHAM COMPLAINT AUG 15, 2009 “Now, 17 years after the deadly fire and four years after the execution, a state  commission charged with investigating negligence and misconduct complaints  against forensic labs has agreed to look into allegations that Willingham was  convicted and sentenced to die on fire officials' faulty testimony.” story by allan turner of the Houston chronicle
innocence project letter to the forensic science commission
DR. BEYLOR REPORT AUG 17, 2009 beylor report
TRIAL BY FIRE† SEP 7, 2009 New Yorker Publishes 16,000 Word† Investigation of Willingham Case trial by fire† john bradley
PERRY SHAKES UP FSC, REPLACING† CHAIRMAN WITH BRADLEY AND† DROPPING TWO OTHER MEMBERS SEP 30, 2009 perry document
Craig Beyler, a nationally regarded fire science expert, produced a report that said the original case was built on faulty evidence. He was set to testify at an Oct. 2, 2009,  hearing, but two days before the hearing, Gov. Rick Perry replaced the chairman and two other members of the Forensic Science Commission panel. The new chairman,  Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, canceled the hearing and did not reschedule it. The outgoing chairman, Sam Bassett, expressed disappointment that the  hearing was canceled and that his appointment was not renewed.
BRADLEY SUGGESTS  COMMISSION COULD  MEET IN SECREt NOV 13, 2009 video story
BRADLEY SAYS WILLINGHAM† INVESTIGATION STILL IN INFANCY APR 23, 2010 Other than hiring someone to help we havenít made any other progress, besides identifying that it was worthy of an investigation and hiring a consultant† to help us. Weíve only just begun to assemble the pieces we need, said Sarah†Kerrigan, a member of the FSC.  full story
BRADLEY QUESTIONS  FSC JURISDICTION JUL 23, 2010 Bradley questions jurisdiction of his own commission  in handling the Willingham investigation bradley memo
request to attorney general’s office
full story
COMMISSION PUSHES  BACK AGAINST BRADLEY  DRAFT REPORT SEP 19, 201 full story
bradley draft report
EXPERTS TESTIFY AT FORENSIC  SCIENCE COMMISSION MEETING JAN 7, 2011 full story
fsc committee
COMMISSIONERS EXPRESS  FRUSTRATION WITH DELAYS IN  WILLINGHAM INVESTIGATION JAN 21, 2011 full story
SENATE DELAYS VOTE ON CONFIRMATION  OF BRADLEY NOMINATION. HE CONTINUES  LEADING THE FSC APR 6, 2011 full story
FINAL REPORT ON WILLINGHAM EXPECTED APR 15, 2011 full story
graphic by: brandi grissom, becca aaronson and ben hasson

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