“20/20” Airs on Friday, May 7 on ABC
The only thing possibly worse than losing loved ones in a fire would be if you were falsely accused of setting the blaze. Yet, that is what some experts say happens around the country when the wrong fire investigator determines arson based on outdated techniques. Is it what happened to Amanda Kelly? Kelly’s world fell apart on a winter’s day in 1991 when she was charged with arson, accused of setting a fire that engulfed her Alexandria, Louisiana home, killing her three children. She faced the death penalty.
“20/20” takes this case apart, and examines others where people claim someone was falsely charged, convicted or even executed based on bad fire science. Experts involved say what happened to them, could happen to anyone. John Lentini, one of the nation’s leading fire experts says: “If you survive a fatal fire, you’ve got a very good chance of being charged with setting it.” Jay Schadler’s report airs on 20/20 on FRIDAY, MAY 7 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Other cases “20/20” investigates include: in Indiana, Kristine Bunch has already been behind bars for 14 years after being convicted of setting her mobile home on fire to kill her child; and in Texas, Curtis Severns is serving 17 years in prison for setting fire to his gun shop, even though no one was killed.
“20/20” is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and Chris Cuomo. David Sloan is executive producer.