Although you may not necessarily hear such stories every day, you might be surprised to learn how many wrongfully convicted individuals occupy our nation's prisons, as was the situation with the 1980 Park Slope Arson suspects.
In this particular case, three Bronx residents, William Vasquez, Raymond Mora and Amaury Villalobos, were recently found to be innocent after spending more than thirty years in prison.
Like a tragic movie plot that rivals the likes of Shawshank Redemption, these three men had their lives completely stripped from them due to unreliable forensics techniques, yet it took all this time for our science institutions and justice system to prove their innocence.
According to the New York Times, two recent findings led to the exoneration of all three men: the overturning of prior evidence due to a completely new comprehension of how arson fires are started, as well as the revelation that the case's only reliable witness was not truthful in her 1980s testimonies.
The Arson Investigation Story
In February of 1980, Hannah Quick, the owner of a townhouse in the Park Slope neighborhood told police that she heard commotion and saw these three men exiting the building as a tragic fire killed a mother and five of her children, which eventually steered the investigators toward the false conclusion that arson was committed.
(In reality, new forensics techniques conclude that this fire could have easily been an accident sparked by Hannah Quick's own use of candles in the staircase or her independent power connection at the time of the fire.)
Apparently, moments before she passed away, Ms. Quick confessed to her daughter that she lied about the involvement of these three suspects in the Park Slope fire. Although her motives for this deception still aren't one-hundred percent clear, her confession was just enough to convince fire investigators to reexamine the evidence.
Even though these victims are finally free from decades of incarceration, they claim that there is nothing in this world that can completely make up for the time they've lost.
For example, Mr. Vasquez is now blind from a severe case of glaucoma he developed in prison, and the condition remained untreated this entire time. Mr. Mora didn't even have a chance to catch his next gasp of free air, as he passed away on the inside only nine years after the fire that changed his life.
In court, Mora's daughter held up a photo of him and stated how happy she was to at least know that the world is now aware of her father's proven innocence.
Unfortunately, it's safe to say that the families of these victims will likely spend months or even years in more court rooms as they try to litigate the processing of government compensation for this tragic mistake.
Nowadays, with the astounding progression of arson investigation software, traumatic situations like this can be avoided altogether. This software can make it far simpler to determine whether or not an actual arson was committed, and in a much shorter timeframe than typical old-school investigative methods.
Some benefits of this software include the ability to track multiple investigations from anywhere at any given time of the day, the ability to collaborate with agencies and private investigators across the country, the production of thorough management reports, as well as excellent court documentation methods and superior data analysis.
If you want to ensure that no critical mistakes are made in your next investigation, the purchase of arson investigation software is a no-brainer. This way, you'll never have to hire an IT guy just to monitor activity that typically only occurs a handful of times in a given week!