Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ed Graf: Douglas Boyington: (Quarter-century-old arson cases): Texas Fire Review Panel finds both investigations "failed to meet the present-day scientific standards of care." Fire Marshall says "they should have been concerned back then." The Associated Press.

STORY: "Texas fire review panel flags work in 2 cases," by reporter Nomaan Merchant, published by the Associated Press on June 26, 2013.

GIST:  "A Texas fire review panel flagged two quarter-century-old arson cases on Wednesday, saying investigators were mistaken in finding that the defendants set intentional fires. The Texas State Fire Marshal's Office convened the panel of fire experts earlier this year to review cases for potential problems, in a rare collaboration with criminal justice advocates who say a significant number of arson-related convictions rest on faulty conclusions. The Innocence Project of Texas conducted a survey of arson cases and referred several to the panel. The two cases identified Wednesday are the murder conviction of Ed Graf, a Waco-area man found guilty of setting a 1986 fire that killed his two stepsons, and the arson conviction of Douglas Victor Boyington for a 1988 fire at a Houston-area apartment building. Both men are behind bars, though an appeal in Graf's case led to the conviction and life sentence being set aside. Prosecutors in McLennan County have acknowledged the original fire investigation is no longer valid, but say they intend to retry him based on other evidence. Graf remains jailed on $1.5 million bond. Boyington is serving a 75-year prison sentence for arson, along with sentences for other charges, according to state records. In both cases, letters sent by Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said the original investigators "failed to meet the present-day scientific standards of care." The panel said the fire investigation did meet today's standards in a third case it reviewed, the 2002 murder conviction of Sadie Proffitt in Brazoria County, in southeast Texas. The panel expects to issue findings on another case in the near future and to review five more cases later this year, Connealy said. "These are older cases and the times were different, but nevertheless, their findings can't be supported by the standards of today and quite frankly, they should have been concerned back then," he said about the two flagged cases."

The entire story can be found at:


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