This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

Analysis of "Trial by Fire" by David Grann

downloadDownload printPrint

In the article “Trial by Fire” by David Grann, the author raises the question of whether or not Texas has executed an innocent man, named Todd Willingham, who was accused of murdering his three girls in a house fire. On December 19, 1991, a fire broke out in the Willingham household, which resulted in the death of three young children, and the survival of the father. Willingham was then executed in 2004 for the murder of his kids by arson at the family home. Since then, this case has raised a lot of question marks and controversy between people who are wondering if Willingham was guilty or not. To this day, this case has yet to reach a conclusion.

David Grann sheds the light in the article that in 2005, it was discovered that investigators in the case had no scientific evidence for claiming that the fire was arson. They ignored evidence that went against their theory, relied on discredited folk history, had no understanding of fire dynamics, and failed at considering alternative causes of the fire. Grann mentions in the article other cases where people were wrongfully executed for crimes they did not commit. By mentioning these cases, and highlighting the Willingham case, Grann raises awareness on how many innocent defendants have been executed due to the lack of research and evidence. After reading the facts and evidence in Grann’s article about the case, I personally believe that Willingham was an innocent man who was wrongfully executed. It’s absolutely tragic and shocking to learn that Willingham was locked up in isolation in a sixty-square-foot cell, twenty-three hours a day for the false accusation of murdering his three little girls. Since Willingham was known between other inmates as “baby killer” it put him as a target of attacks and rape.

When I put myself in his position, I don’t know how I would possibly last a day in such horrible and horrifying living conditions. He lasted 12 years. This article opened up my eyes to the extreme injustice innocent defendants are facing. Imagine facing death penalty for a crime you did not commit because no one around you believed you were innocent. Imagine the people who are supposed to be defending you, working towards proving you were guilty instead of looking for evidence to prove your innocence. In the year 2000, an investigation revealed that many inmates in Texas who were facing the death penalty, were represented by lawyers appointed by the court, who at some point in their careers, have been suspended or banned from practicing law, or placed on probation,. The way the author describes life in prison for Willingham to the reader, appeals greatly to my emotions. It was gut-wrenching reading Grann’s words about Willingham’s experience in prison. A specific line that got to me, was when Grann mentioned how Willingham’s letters home became increasingly despairing over the years. In one letter, Willingham wrote “They have [executed] at least one person every month I have been here. It is senseless and brutal. . . You see, we are not living in here, we are only existing. ” (Page 12) This line made me think about and question the many tragic losses of innocent people to the death penalty. It made me wonder, how did it feel for Willingham to know he was going to be next. When he says “we are not living in here, we are only existing,” it shows how prison killed him before the death penalty did.

This case connects with a recent story that was all over the news and grabbed the attention of many. The inmate Alice Marie Johnson, who was recently freed by the help of the American reality television personality Kim Kardashian. Alice, a 63-year-old grandmother, was given a life sentence in prison without parole for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. Alice was found guilty in 1996 and was sentenced to life in prison in 1997. She’s spent more than two decades locked up. Her story was all over the news, after an interview with her from federal prison was released. The news grabbed the attention and sympathy of Kim Kardashian. Kim said she got involved in the case because “if you think of a bad decision you made in your life and you get life without the possibility of parole for your first-time nonviolent offense, there’s just something so wrong with that” “I think that she really deserves a second chance at life. ” Seven months later, after an oval-office meeting between Kim Kardashian and president Donald Trump, Alice was granted clemency and released from prison. This case reminds me of Willingham because he too deserved a second chance at life. He deserved to have people that believed he could have been innocent, and looked for ways to prove that. He deserved to have people look more into the evidence and study the case several times to save him from the death penalty. I personally relate to the connection of these stories, because I too would want a second chance at life if anything like that happens to me. I would want people to support me, not work against me.

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get custom essay

121 writers online

Analysis of "Trial by Fire" by David Grann Essay

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Analysis of “Trial by Fire” by David Grann. (2019, September 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from
“Analysis of “Trial by Fire” by David Grann.” GradesFixer, 13 Sept. 2019,
Analysis of “Trial by Fire” by David Grann. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Mar. 2023].
Analysis of “Trial by Fire” by David Grann [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Sept 13 [cited 2023 Mar 24]. Available from:
copy to clipboard

Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay. Get custom paper

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!

    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now