The debate has also produced conflicting images of Willingham. Those who share Perry’s view feel that justice was served, describing Willingham as a sociopath who poured accelerant on the floor of the house, who felt the children hindered his lifestyle, who beat his wife in an unsuccessful attempt to cause a miscarriage.
One witness recalled that Willingham bragged about the time he and a half brother stole a dog, beat it in the head with a stick and ran over it with a car, although Willingham later told a friend he didn’t harm the animal.
“I believe he was guilty,” his ex-wife said Saturday night. Stacy Kuykendall, who now goes by her maiden name, confirmed earlier reports that Willingham told her before his execution that he had set fire to the house and killed the children because he knew that she was going to leave him.
“He was sorry for what he did,” she said. “He did confess.”
In a lengthy statement, Stacy Kuykendall offered one of her most detailed accounts of the fire and its aftermath and her recollections of Willingham’s behavior.
“Todd set our house on fire then stood outside and watched it burn. He knew our three daughters were inside this home taking there last breath. He watched them die,” she said. “Governor Rick Perry called Cameron Todd Willingham a ‘monster’ and indeed he was.”
Willingham’s defenders, including other members of his family, acknowledge that Willingham, a 10th-grade dropout from Ardmore, Okla., had a history of scrapes with the law and had a substance abuse problem. They also acknowledge that he and his wife had a stormy, abusive relationship and that Willingham was sometimes unfaithful. But at the same time, they say, he was a loving father who adored his children and would never harm them.
“He was kind of a Mr. Mom,” recalls his 67-year-old stepmother, Eugenia Willingham of Ardmore.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Willingham is the wrong martyr for activists who oppose the death penalty...
Cameron Todd Willingham had 9 appeals of his conviction in state and federal courts, including multiple appeals to the Supreme Court.
Supposed "expert" Gerald Hurst wrote a report in 2004 just before the execution attempting to cast doubt on the fire being arson. Hurst of course was the same discredited individual who stated that the fire at the governor's mansion couldn't possibly have been arson... the day before the security tapes were released (link). Oops.
Dave Montgomery went and talked to Willingham's ex wife, and it turns out the Chicago Tribune was not being entirely truthful in their interaction with her (link). Excerpt follows...
For those who oppose the death penalty and are hoping an innocent person was executed and therefore the entire death penalty should be revoked... this is not your case. Willingham is not your martyr.