New science being used to fight arson convictions

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Associated Press

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 4:35 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio death row inmate says updated arson science could help exonerate him in the blaze that killed his 3-year-old son.

Ohio's Parole Board is scheduled to take up a plea for mercy Wednesday from Michael Webb.

Webb says a new analysis of the 1990 fire shows it could have started just about anywhere on the main floor of his house. And that points to another culprit, he says.

Prosecutors say his argument is nothing new and not backed by the evidence.

Webb's case is part of new legal frontier around the country: Defense attorneys are using the latest research on fire to challenge arson convictions, in much the same way they have used DNA to exonerate people convicted of murder.

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