The new documentary film ‘Incendiary: The Willingham Case’ lays out the disturbing details of a house fire that killed three children and led to Cameron Todd Willingham’s conviction and execution, signed by Governor Rick Perry. After his execution in 2004, questions of whether Willingham actually burned his house down and killed his children have persisted, because the fire investigators in 1992 used methods now determined to be junk science. One expert even called them “more akin to witchcraft.”
Equipped with a knowledge of modern scientific fire investigation, reporter David Grann reviewed the case for The New Yorker in 2009. His story raised significant questions as to whether the evidence against Willingham was accurate, inspiring other writers, and the directors of “Incendiary,” to probe the issue further.
In the years that followed, the Texas Forensic Science Commission would attempt to review the case, only to see several of their members dismissed by Perry and replaced with his political allies.