Civics: THE FIRE ON HARVARD AVENUE How Junk Arson Science Convicted a Mother of Killing Her Own Daughters

Liliana Segura:

But as with many arson cases that have come under scrutiny in recent years, the evidence against Garcia was flawed — based on circumstantial evidence, a flimsy fire investigation, and junk science. Garcia spent more than a decade in prison before her case was taken up by the Ohio Public Defender in Columbus. In 2015, she won a rare evidentiary hearing, with Sanchez arguing that advances in fire science should qualify as new evidence in Garcia’s case. The motion was based on a review of the evidence by Dr. DeHaan, whose book, “Kirk’s Fire Investigation,” is a staple in the industry. DeHaan, who has since retired, has spent years working to exonerate people wrongly accused of arson. His report exposed the lack of scientific validity behind Garcia’s conviction, pointing to accidental scenarios that were never explored, along with recent scientific studies that have further undermined the state’s case. “The court should be forced to realize it was a wrongful conviction, set it aside, and be done with it,” DeHaan said on the day of the hearing.