Evil Lives Here is examing a shocking case involving the murder of three young children through an act of arson by their father, Cameron “Todd” Willingham, in Corsicana, Texas, in 1991.
Willingham was subsequently executed for the crime; however, some individuals have expressed serious doubt about his conviction and wonder if the state killed an innocent man.
On December 23, 1991, a fire enveloped the home of Todd and Stacey in Corsicana, Texas. At the time, Todd said he’d been napping but had just managed to escape the flames before he was severely injured. His wife Stacey was out Christmas shopping at the time. But tragically, their three young children were killed in the blaze.
Their daughters, 2-year-old Amber and her two younger identical twin sisters, 1-year-old Karmon and Kameron, all died from carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation.
Neighbors later told the police how they had seen Willingham crouching on the lawn outside his house as the building went up in smoke. They urged him to go inside and rescue his children, but he refused. The neighbors said he seemed more concerned about damage to his property, such as his car than the welfare of his children.
The investigators concluded that the fire had been started deliberately. They said somebody had poured a combustible accelerant on the floor throughout the house. The police then began to suspect that Willingham was a murderer.
When Willingham was arrested, he vigorously professed his innocence. If he had pleaded guilty, he would most likely have been sentenced to life in prison. However, he insisted that he would not admit to a crime he claimed he didn’t commit, so he was sentenced to die by lethal injection. He was executed on February 17, 2004, aged 36.
Stacey Kuykendall divorced her husband not long after the deaths of her children, and she professed that Willingham had been abusive towards her, but not the children. Over time, she has alternated between claiming she believes her former husband is guilty and innocent.
Doubts have been raised about Cameron Todd Willingham’s conviction
There has been serious doubt expressed over the validity of Willingham’s conviction. A later study into the causes of the fire stated that it might not have been arson.
Also, the prosecution relied heavily on the testimony of convict Johnny Webb, who testified that Willingham had confessed to him. His testimony has since been deemed unreliable as he lied in court about the prosecution offering him a reduced sentence to testify.
More from Evil Lives Here
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Alexander Watson was arrested after an armed robbery turned into a murder, but while he was in custody, DNA evidence revealed that he had killed before and that he was an undiscovered serial killer.
Evil Lives Here airs at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.