Friday, May 5, 2017

Adam Gray; Illinois; Outdated arson 'science.' Buzzfeed: "This Chicago Man Was Sentenced To Life On A Faulty Arson Conviction — Now He’s Getting Out." Reporter Mike Hayes. (Link provided to earlier BuzzFeed story on his case: 'Making an arsonist)...“Following a thorough, independent investigation, the Cook County State’s Attorney has concluded that Mr. Gray’s 1996 convictions were based on flawed trial testimony from purported experts in the field of fire investigation and are no longer valid,” the joint motion reads. “Scientific advances since the time of trial have proven that the fire investigators’ testimonies — while based on beliefs that were widely held in 1996 — were erroneous under current scientific knowledge,” the motion continues. The motion also decried the Circuit Court’s decision last November to not grant Gray a new trial, calling it “extraordinary and unprecedented." Adam Gray was arrested in 1993 at age 14 and accused of setting his ex-girlfriend’s house on the Southside of Chicago on fire. Two elderly people living on the second floor died in the blaze. Three years later, he was tried as an adult and found guilty of double-murder — a charge that, at the time, carried an automatic sentence of life without parole even though the 17-year-old Gray was still technically a juvenile. Gray has always professed his innocence, saying the confession he gave the day of the fire was coerced by police who interrogated him for hours without a lawyer or his parents present. In 2016, Gray’s defense team and prosecutors for the State of Illinois agreed that he should get a new trial because of emerging science that suggests detectives ruled the fire an arson based on investigative techniques that have been thoroughly discredited over the years. Prosecutors from the Cook County conviction integrity unit wrote in a motion in June — joining Gray’s request for a new trial — that arson investigators who testified against him in 1996 relied on “abandoned theories” in the field. Furthermore, the prosecution added that the fire science used to convict Gray has become “partially invalidated” in the years since his conviction."

STORY: "This Chicago Man Was Sentenced To Life On A Faulty Arson Conviction — Now He’s Getting Out," by reporter Mike Hayes, published by BuzzFeed on May 3, 2017.

PHOTO CAPTION: "Adam Gray was convicted of arson and murder and sentenced to life in prison after police used bad fire science. Now, more than 24 years later, the charges are being dropped and he’s being freed."