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Burned : a story of murder and the crime that wasn't / Edward Humes

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FVTC General Collection

HV9475.C2 H86 2019


Material Type
Humes, Edward, author.
Publication Info.
[New York] : Dutton, [2019]
Publication Info.

More Details

307 pages : illustration ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 275-293) and index.
"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. 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 soon was pronounced one of the most monstrous killers in Los Angeles history, motivated by a desire to be rid of parental responsibilities and a greedy eagerness to cash in by suing her landlords. Though insisting 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 gospel in 1989 has been revealed to be dead wrong today, little more than 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"-- Provided by publisher.
Part one: A long fuse lit. April 9, 1989 ; 1,100 degrees ; Firefighting ; Statements ; Victims ; Arson expert ; Three days in October 1991 -- Part two: Stirring the ashes. The pit ; Growing up Jo Ann ; They told me I couldn't ; It's all gonna come out in the end ; Everything which is not law ; "If I am wrong, then everything I have ever been taught ... would all be wrong" -- Part three: Fire on trial. Sherlock was wrong ; The monster speaks ; The bias man ; Unhinged ; What revolution? -- Epilogue: The curse of uncertainty
Text in English.
Parks, Jo Ann.
Women prisoners -- California.
Female offenders -- California.
Mothers -- California.
Malicious accusation -- California.
TRUE CRIME / Murder / General.
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology.
LAW / Forensic Science.
True crime stories.
Continued By
Other Form:
Online version: Humes, Edward, author. Burned 1 Edition. New York : Dutton, 2019 9781524742140 (DLC) 2018059626
1524742139 (hardcover)
9781524742133 (hardcover)