Folklore As Science

Alfonso Villafuerte
Professor Richard Flynn
English 101A
28 June 2018

Folklore as Science

Voltaire said, " It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one" Unfortunately, this was not the case in the Cameron Todd Willingham investigation and many more like it. In 1991, Willingham was accused of starting a fire in his own home to murder his children. This paper will explore the evidence in the Willingham case that lead to his conviction and execution. Evidence such as the witness statements especially that of Johnny Webb and Diane Barbee, was arguably the most damaging. Furthermore, expert testimony of two psychiatrists that incorrectly labeled Willingham ...

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paper will first explore the witness testimony against Willingham. On the night of the incident, Diane Barbee had gone to Willingham's house after her daughter alerted her that there might be a fire there. Upon arriving Barbee saw Willingham standing on the porch shouting, "My babies are burning up!" (Grann 4). According to Barbee, she left to call the fire department after being told to do so by Willingham. It must be noted that Barbee had left to call the fire department; however, when she gave her statement to the police Barbee claimed, "that she had not seen Willingham try to enter the house until after authorities arrived, as if he were putting on a show"(Grann 4). One must question how this statement is valid despite not being present while contacting authorities. This brings in to question the reliability of eyewitness accounts as they can often be inaccurate due to how reconstruction of memories works. Many people believe that when they try to access a memory they are ...

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when it is known that inmates will "come forward voluntarily, often seeking deals or special treatment" (Cardozo) as well as being pressured to give false statements being provided with the necessary information. Following Willingham's sentencing Webb sent a letter to prosecutors recanting his testimony saying Willingham was in fact innocent and would soon recant his initial recant.
The witness testimonies from Willingham's neighbor and cellmate, coupled with artwork in Willingham's house, conviced two medical experts to diagnose him as a sociopath. This diagnosis was done without the psychologists meeting with Willingham in person. One of the experts, Tim Gregory was merely ...

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Folklore As Science. (2018, October 30). Retrieved August 24, 2019, from
"Folklore As Science.", 30 Oct. 2018. Web. 24 Aug. 2019. <>
"Folklore As Science." October 30, 2018. Accessed August 24, 2019.
"Folklore As Science." October 30, 2018. Accessed August 24, 2019.
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Added: 10/30/2018 09:05:52 PM
Submitted By: alvilla
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1642
Pages: 6

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