Monday, October 20, 2014

Ed Graf: Retrial: The jury is out; The Texas Observer's Dave Mann says the essence of the case is: "Will the jury go with their heads or their hearts, with the scientific evidence or with their suspicions?" Related story; Jury deadlocked six hours into deliberations; Returning to court Tuesday morning;

STORY: "Jury begins deliberations in Ed Graf  re-trial" by reporter Dave Mann, published by the Texas Observer on October 20, 2014.

GIST: "Ed Graf’s fate now lies with a Waco jury. Testimony in Graf’s controversial re-trial concluded on Friday, and attorneys presented their closing arguments this morning. The six men and six women of the jury will now decide if they believe that Graf murdered his 8- and 9-year-old stepsons by starting a 1986 fire in a shed behind his house; or if Graf was wrongly convicted and spent decades in prison for what was actually an accidental fire.........But the most stunning testimony came from a jailhouse informant. Fernando Herrera, an inmate at the McLennan County jail who said he got to know Graf over the past few months, was likely the most controversial of the more than 30 prosecution witnesses. Herrera testified, as Tommy Witherspoon, the Waco Tribune-Herald’s long-time courthouse correspondent reported, that Graf confessed the crime to him in detail.........Defense lawyers sought to discredit Herrera, pointing out that he has at least six known aliases and more than a dozen convictions. They also noted that Herrera had asked for preferential treatment in jail multiple times before contacting prosecutors about the Graf case. Still, Herrera claimed prosecutors weren’t giving him anything in exchange for his testimony. Defense attorneys also noted how unbelievable it seems that Graf would spend 25 years in prison, then, after his conviction was overturned, confess to a random jail inmate just before his retrial. Moreover, jailhouse informants don’t have the best track record, as the Innocence Project reports. The defense team built its case on the scientific evidence. Doug Carpenter, a nationally renowned fire expert, was the key witness. He testified that the high carbon monoxide levels in the boys’ bodies point to an accidental fire (gasoline/arson fires typically result in low carbon monoxide levels. More on that here.) The defense also offered evidence that the boys had played with matches on several occasions and theorized that the boys had started the accidental fire themselves. In his closing argument, prosecutor Michael Jarrett told the jury to ignore the scientific testimony and to go with their “heart,” as Witherspoon reported on Twitter. That’s the essence of the case: Will the jury go with their heads or their hearts, with the scientific evidence or with their suspicions?"

The entire story can be found at:

See related KXXV story; Juey deadlocked after six hours deliberations; Returning to court Tuesday morning;


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