Adam Gray’s file was examined by arson experts John Lentini and Gerald Hurst. “At trial, prosecutors focused on two elements — the evidence that the fire had been intentionally set and a confession from Gray. Two fire investigators said they found alligator charring and deep burn patterns at the scene and concluded they were evidence of a hot fire set with an accelerant.”
This is similar to the cases of Kenneth Richey, Cameron Todd Willingham, Daniel Dougherty, and others. Forensic arson detection evolved but not everyone kept up with the progress. According to some in the industry, before 1992 many guidelines analyzing arson were “largely based on hand-me-down myths” and many fire investigators lacked formal training. The widespread attention for DNA on TV and in the movies has helped to make it as well-known as it is today. But that didn’t happen with forensic arson detection.
“Gray’s attorneys said they were looking at their options, including an appeal of the judge’s ruling. “This is an unusual case in which both the defense lawyers and the prosecutors agreed he was convicted on the basis of evidence which experts now know is unscientific and unreliable,” said Terri Mascherin, one of Gray’s attorneys. “We think the judge misapplied the law.”
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