The former chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission spoke out on Wednesday, alleging that Perry had him replaced after he got into a confrontation with the governor’s aides while reviewing evidence in a case of possible wrongful execution. Sam Bassett headed the investigation into the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, whose murder conviction rested on testimony that arson experts call ‘outdated’ and ‘incorrect.’ After Bassett was replaced, his successor halted the investigation, citing the same concerns as Perry’s aides had.
Without referring specifically to the Willingham case, moderator Brian Williams asked Gov. Perry if he had ever struggled with the idea that someone who was killed via capital punishment was innocent. Perry responded ‘No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all’ and proceeded to defend the ‘thoughtful’ and ‘clear process’ that Texas goes through before carrying out capital punishment.