News 09.08.14

Texas Arson Case Set for Retrial

Nearly a year and a half after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacated the 1986 capital murder conviction of a man who was wrongly convicted of the arson murder of his 8 and 9 year-old step sons through flawed arson evidence, his attorneys are preparing for a retrial that is set to begin next month.
Ed Graf Jr.’s case was identified by the Innocence Project of Texas in response to a review of old arson cases that arose out of a multiple year investigation by the Texas Forensic Science Commission stemming from its review of the case of Cameron Todd Willingham whose conviction was based on flawed arson science. While other cases have come to light, Graf’s is one of the first cases to be retried after previous arson science was debunked.
KXXV- ABC Waco reported that among the issues that were discussed about the trial last week by attorneys for Graf and the state was what to tell potential jurors about the first case when Graf was convicted in 1988.

Innocence Project of Texas

Founder and Chief Counsel Jeff Blackburn argued that potential jurors might be prejudice if they don’t understand why Graf is being tried 25 years after the alleged crime. 
“You know that’s a real 800 pound gorilla that’s just sitting in the room, you can’t get around that. And the idea that you could even find a juror somewhere who never heard of it or just thinks that oh 25 years later I guess they’re just bringing the charges up for the first time, that kind of stretches the imagination a little bit,” Blackburn said. 
“Mr. Graf’s case is extremely significant because it’s really and truly a great example of how justice is supposed to unfold in this state,” Blackburn said. “I think that if he’s fairly tried according to real science I think we’re going to see a result that might astonish people.”
Jury selection is set to begin October 6.
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