Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sonia Cacy: Texas Monthly's superb article on leading fire investigation into the twenty-first century: (Must Read. HL. Kudos to author Brantley Hargrove.)


ARTICLE: "Leading fire investigation into the twenty-first century," by Brantley Hargrove, published  by Texas Monthly on June 16, 2014.

SUB-HEADING: "Texas is changing what we know about arson science. And it all started with Sonia Cacy."
GIST: "At trial, the evidence against her looked unassailable to a jury. A toxicologist from the Bexar County forensic lab even testified to the presence of an accelerant like gasoline in scraps of clothing from Uncle Bill’s body. It took them two hours to convict her of murder. She was sentenced to 55 years in prison. And she might still be locked up if not for a Cambridge-educated chemist and inventor named Gerald Hurst. When he cracked open Cacy’s file in the spring of 1996—three years after her conviction—he was appalled by what he found. If there was a moment when fire investigation began to emerge out of the dark age of hunches, untested hand-me-down arson indicators, and wives’ tales, it occurred when Hurst turned his attention to Cacy’s case. A tall, lanky man with a wiry beard and deep-set eyes, Hurst once developed weapons of war, but when he shifted careers in the seventies, using his background in chemistry to become a fire expert, he waged intellectual warfare against questionable science presented in civil trials. He had never been involved in a criminal proceeding before looking into the Cacy file, but he understood the chemical reaction that produces fire, and he was horrified by the quality of arson science used in the testimony that led to Cacy’s conviction."

The entire story can be found at:


Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
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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:
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; 

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