Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back in action: James Kluppelberg; Arson; Once on death row, 25 years behind bars, freed after expert retained by prosecutors reviewed forensic evidence in case;

STORY: "Man convicted of deadly 1984 arson 'blown away' by prison release: After new investigation, prosecutors dismiss charges in 1984 fire that killed six," by reporter Steve Mills, Chicago Tribune, published on May 31, 2012.

GIST: "A man who spent nearly a quarter-century behind bars for his conviction for setting a 1984 fire that killed a woman and her five children will be released from prison after Cook County prosecutors unexpectedly dropped the case against him. James Kluppelberg, 46, who once faced the death penalty in the case, was convicted of setting the March 1984 fire that killed 28-year-old Elva Lupercio and her five children, ages 3 to 10, at their home in the 4400 block of South Hermitage Avenue in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.........Kluppelberg maintained his innocence from the beginning. On appeal, his attorneys argued that the blaze was not even an arson, saying that advances in science after Kluppelberg's conviction changed how officials investigated fires. Among those advances: Indicators that investigators long believed meant a fire had been intentionally set simply were signs of a blaze that burned especially hot or went to flashover and exploded. A 2004 Tribune series, "Forensics Under the Microscope," examined the advances in fire science and how the use of debunked arson indicators had led to possible wrongful convictions of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. In a follow-up story, the Tribune reported on the execution of a Texas man, Cameron Todd Willingham, even though fire investigators used the same debunked theories to win his conviction. The friend who implicated Kluppelberg later admitted he had lied because he was facing his own criminal charges. Defense attorneys also claimed prosecutors had failed to turn over information about a woman who had set a fire a block from the Lupercio home on the same night. That woman confessed to the other fire and told police she was too drunk to remember if she had set the Lupercio fire as well."

THE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:,0,7214801.story

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.
The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.