DALLAS, TX—He has become the face of the anti-death penalty rally. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas after being convicted for setting a fire that killed his three young girls near Corsicana in 2005.
A new "Incendiary" tells the story of Willingham and the debate surrounding his guilt or innocence. The movie, set to be released this week, is again putting the Texas execution chamber back in the national spotlight.
"This system has a lot of problems," SMU human rights activist, Rick Halperin said.
Halperin says Hollywood's focus on the death penalty is spotlighting the system that he says is full of flaws.
"Texas cases just continually come before the US Supreme Court. It is the norm and that should signal something."
The new movie highlights Governor Rick Perry's stance on the death penalty. In his presidential quest, Perry has restated his position about presiding over more than 230 executions, more than any other governor.
But, while Texas does have a reputation as being blood thirty, experts point out the punishment is in decline.
"We started seeing fewer death cases when the option of life without parole came about," former prosecutor, Toby Shook, said.
Shook has sent many convicted killers to death row. He says the practice is waning, not because of critics, but the cost of a death penalty case.
"For instance in Dallas County, there are only about four death penalty cases each year, even though there are about 80-90 capital murder cases each year."
Still, most agree the debate over the ultimate punishment isn't going away anytime soon, not with movies in the making and Texan running for governor.