Ed Graf has spent 25 years in a Texas prison, convicted of setting a fire in a shed that killed his two stepsons. In the years since Graf’s trial, much of the forensic evidence used against him has been found to be nothing more than junk science. That has prompted the state of Texas to take a look old arson convictions dating back to at least 2003, NPR reports. Yesterday, Graf became the first person in the state to get a retrial based on new understandings of fire forensics.
In the prosecution’s portrayal of events, Graf, a banker, thought his two stepsons were coming between him and his wife, Clare Bradburn. She said Graf was too tough on the boys and she had considered leaving him. Prosecutors say Graf made a cold-blooded move to solve that problem permanently: Arson. Chris Connealy, Texas fire marshal, says the cause of the fire is undetermined. It is his mission to overhaul fire investigations in Texas. He has formed a science advisory board and beefed up training for his staff. Connealy is collaborating with the Innocence Project of Texas, which works to overturn wrongful convictions.