Reflection Paper on Death by Fire


The film Death by Fire aired by Frontline represents a case of mistaken identity and embodies some of the most common cases in the US. Willingham was executed for a crime that he did not commit. There is varied literature that has been published supporting this observation with the subject drawing media attention ever since. One of the leading forensic arson investigators, John Lentini has since argued that the execution was based on a crime that could not be proven to have been caused by the man (WGBH Educational Foundation). I believe that such mistakes are not only common and Willingham execution presents a setting where misrepresentation of evidence led to wrong killing, and that jeopardizes the relevance of the judicial system.

As I was watching the film aired by Frontline on the Death by Fire incidence, I could read the innocence of the supposed killer and I believe that a lot could be interpreted from the manner in which he expresses himself. It appears that he was also taken by surprise when the fire occurred because he complains that he was surprised to hear his children crying out to him about the fire. In one instance, Cameron Todd Willingham says, “My little girl was crying, “Daddy! Daddy!” And when I woke up, the whole house was in smoke” (Frontline). I trust that the fact that Willingham did not suffer major serious injuries from the fire could have played a huge role in the judgement that was made because it was hard to believe his assertions reading by his body language.

I think that the outcome of the ruling has even greater importance to the public policy sector because it is a clear indication that the court can sometimes be against an innocent person regardless of how one tries to defend themselves. It is particularly a concern that the execution was made but a follow-up into the reasons and evidence shows that there is no tangible link that could be drawn to prove that Willingham was guilty of the crime. The public policy is likely to be impacted by the ruling in a way because there will be loss of trust in the judicial system because many people have since followed the story and aired varied opinion about how they think the ruling was made. I think that such incidences will only have a negative outcome because it does not help the victim to get justice neither does it enable the public get the impression of the truth in the judicial structure. I think that such cases are likely to result in more arson incidences because many will feel like there is no rule that governs the people.

I summation, I think that the case is a controversy that is a bad impression for the judiciary based on the fact that the accused ended up being killed based solely on what the jury thought about him. The fact that Willingham was later seen as a local bar and the realization that he did not have major injuries led to his killing. I think that the future of the judiciary rulings should be focused more on evidence as opposed to the subjective assumption that are causing many executions that are on innocent people. It is critical that the issues are addressed to reinstate the trust that has been lost in the courts.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *