Ed Graf was convicted in 1988 of killing his two stepsons, 9-year-old Joby and 8-year-old Jason, by locking them in a storage shed and setting it on fire.  A Criminal Appeals court in Texas ruled recently that the arson forensics used to convict him is invalid, unscientific, and unreliable.  Now, a grand jury has decided to indict him again in the same case.  The new charges will replace his original charges in 1988.  He is now charged with two counts of capital murder, two counts of murder, and four counts of injury to a child.  His retrial is set for May.

His case is among several flagged by a state investigative panel that is examining possible wrongful convictions in arson cases.  Criminal justice advocates have long called for more examinations of fire science used in states such as Texas for convictions, particularly in the controversial 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said, “Over 26 years ago, the lives two little boys were tragically ended.  Changes in fire science caused Ed Graf’s case to come back…It is my honor to continue to seek justice…”

Graf’s bond was set at $1.5 million, he is expected to have to remain in jail pending retrial.  At the time, investigators determined that charring was deepest near the doors of the shed, which indicated an accelerant was used.  Now, experts, including one hired by the prosecution, have concluded that it is a significant possibility that the fire was accidental.  Prosecutors agreed with the request for a new trial, but still believe they have enough evidence to convict him.  Among prosecutors’ evidence is alleged “suspicious behavior” before and after the fire and a possible financial motive.

Graf’s attorney, Walter Reaves said, “I don’t think they have any evidence…I really thought we would be done with it…”


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