New trial is ordered in 1986 fire that killed 2 boys

Posted Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A Hewitt man convicted of setting a fire that killed his two stepsons was granted a new trial Wednesday by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which sided with experts who question the fire investigation used to convict him.

Ed Graf's case is one of several flagged by a new state panel re-examining arson investigations. The state fire marshal is working with criminal justice advocates who say many arson convictions were aided by faulty scientific conclusions.

Graf was sentenced to life in prison for the 1986 fire in a backyard shed that killed the boys. Four reviews of the original fire forensics, including one commissioned by prosecutors, found that investigators may have drawn the wrong conclusions from photos of charring and burn patterns and that the fire could have been an accident.

The court declined to issue a finding of actual innocence for Graf, siding with a state district judge and prosecutors.

The case now goes back to district court in Waco.

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