A Story of Murder and the Crime That Wasn'tBook - 2019
"Was a monstrous killer brought to justice or an innocent mother condemned? On an April night in 1989, three small children perished in a Los Angeles apartment fire. Their young mother, Jo Ann Parks, escaped unharmed, the sole survivor and only eyewitness. Though they at first believed the fire had been a tragic accident, forensic fire investigators soon uncovered evidence that Parks had sabotaged wiring, set several fires herself, and even barricaded her four-year-old son inside a closet to make sure he could not escape. Parks was labeled a monster. Even though she insisted she did nothing wrong, Jo Ann Parks was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole on the power of forensic fire science that convincingly proved her guilt. But more than a quarter century later, there has been a revolution in the science of fire. Much of what was thought to be incontrovertible in 1989 has been revealed to be myth and guesswork disguised as science. Now a young lawyer with the California Innocence Project is challenging the conviction and the so-called "science" behind it, claiming that false assumptions, tunnel vision and outright bias not only led to life in prison for an innocent mother, but convicted her of a crime that never actually happened. Will Jo Ann Parks be exonerated? Or can prosecutors dredge up enough procedural roadblocks and evidence from the shes to make sure Jo Ann Parks dies in prison? Parks could well be "Patient Zero" in an epidemic of convictions based on bad science, but only if she wins. No matter how her last-ditch effort for freedom turns out, someone will be left burned. More than a gripping detective story, Burned is a shocking tale that upends the almost universal confidence we have in flawed forensics--the "CSI" so long-celebrated in fiction and film--that has put thousands in prison as our justice system chose to embrace junk science over protecting the innocent"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Dutton, 
Characteristics: 307 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.