A retrial for Daniel Dougherty

Fire AdSA retrial for Daniel Dougherty starts coming Monday. In 1985, Daniel Dougherty was found guilty of deliberately igniting fires in his home that killed his two sons, Danny(4) and Johnny(3).

Police arrested Dougherty 14 years later, when his estranged wife came forward and claimed he confessed. A jury found him guilty on capital murder charges in 2000. He was awaiting his execution.

From Philly.com“Dougherty, 56, has been granted a new trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court after an appellate court found that his lawyer’s failures so skewed the original proceeding that “no reliable adjudication of guilt or innocence took place. 

His retrial is scheduled to start Monday. 

Dougherty’s new lawyers are expected to present expert testimony to show that the fire science used to convict him was bunk, that what sounded like proof of arson actually proved nothing.”

Dougherty’s first wife and the mother of the deceased children, Kathy Fox, is now remarried. She said she doesn’t believe he intentionally killed their children. She never testified in the original trial because Dougherty’s attorney didn’t ask her. “Knowing Daniel and his relationship with his children, I cannot believe he would have burned them to death,” she said in statement presented in Dougherty’s appeal.

I have written extensively about forensic arson detection. The cases of Cameron Willingham, Kenneth Richey, and David McLeod are described on this blog in detail.

To be continued!