Thursday, January 06, 2011

Arson experts finally scheduled to testify in Willingham inquiry tomorrow

The Forensic Science Commission tomorrow will (finally) meet to hear testimony from arson experts on the Todd Willingham case. Chuck Lindell at the Austin Statesman has a preview post up describing the experts scheduled to testify. They are:
  • Assistant State Fire Marshal Ed Salazar, second in command at the office that helps investigate suspicious fires statewide. One of the office’s investigators was instrumental in the 1992 conviction of Willingham, and the office recently stood by that investigation despite criticism from every modern, outside fire investigator to re-examine its conclusions.
  • John DeHaan, one of the nation’s leading fire experts who has spent more than 35 years investigating fires. DeHaan wrote five editions of “Kirk’s Fire Investigation,” the most widely used textbook in the field, and co-wrote a companion text, “Forensic Fire Scene Reconstruction.” He is a frequent expert witness at arson trials, often testifying for the prosecution.
  • Craig Beyler, president of the International Association of Fire Safety Science, is also one of the nation’s top fire investigators. Beyler was hired by the commission to analyze the Willingham fire and wrote a 2009 report that disputed every conclusion used to rule the fire an arson.
  • Thomas Wood, a senior investigator with the Houston Fire Department. In a 2010 letter to the science commission, Wood said Willingham investigators could not be considered negligent because their arson conclusions were based on investigative standards common to that era.
The Innocence Project of New York emailed out these documents related to the case:
The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in Room 402 of the Central Services Building, 1711 San Jacinto Blvd., in Austin. For more background on the Willingham case, see here. Once the meeting begins, you can watch live video on the Innocence Project’s website here.


Ryan Paige said...

As important as the Willingham case may be, I'd rather see somebody working to get the truth out in the Curtis Severns case since he's, you know, still alive and still in prison.

I guess since it was a federal case (since it involved a gun shop), the Commission doesn't have any jurisdiction there, though.

Anonymous said...

Let the truth be revealed and the chips fall as they may.

L.Roth said...

Bravo! Finally! A national focus on Texas and its criminal justice system!

More attention on Texas' righteous injustice may help rout out the bad guys and hopefully bring some changes to the current good ol' boy system in the state.

It's a long time comin' for sure!

austex1151 said...

Amen, L. Roth! High time Texas' criminal "justice system" was examined and exposed.

Anonymous said...

**yawns** Wake me up when the latest round of positioning by Bradley is over with.