FRONTLINE: Death by Fire

FRONTLINE: Death by Fire

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 10:00pm

Cameron Todd Willingham — convicted of the Dec. 23, 1991 capital murder of his three children in a fire — waits for guards to take him back to his cell on death row in Livingston, Texas, days before his execution on Feb. 17, 2004.

Credit: Courtesy of Scott Honea

Did Texas execute an innocent man?

Several controversial death penalty cases are currently under examination in Texas and in other states, but it’s the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham — convicted for the arson deaths of his three young children — that’s now at the center of the national debate. With unique access to those closest to the case, FRONTLINE examines the Willingham conviction in light of new science that raises doubts about whether the fire at the center of the case was really arson at all. The film meticulously examines the evidence used to convict Willingham, provides an in-depth portrait of those most impacted by the case and explores the explosive implications of the execution of a possibly innocent man.

FRONTLINE: Death by Fire airs Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

As PBS’ premier public affairs series, FRONTLINE’s stature is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human, social and political experience.

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Death by Arson program

I have been involved in fire investigation for years and based on what was presented by this program the conclusions reached are un-supportable. An expert witness saying "there must have been a short in the overhead wiring someplace" is not evidence. A friend saying "I know he didn't start the fire is not evidence".

Determination of the point of origin and source of ignition were not even touched on in the programming.