Kristine Bunch, who has spent 16 years of a 60-year sentence in prison after being convicted of murder and arson in the mobile home fire that took her young son, is “a step closer to freedom,” said Rob Warden, Executive Director of the Center on Wrongful Conviction (CWC) at Northwestern Law. On Wednesday, the Indiana Supreme Court denied the prosecution’s request to review an Indiana Court of Appeals decision to reverse and remand the case for a new trial. The Appeals Court’s decision was based in part on new science that has discredited older arson theory utilized in this and other cases.
The defense argued that fuel could not have been used, that other possible causes of the fire were not adequately considered, and that a lab report that was inconsistent with the prosecution’s theory was withheld from the defense. With the Supreme Court’s denial, the case will be returned to the Decatur County Circuit Court. Prosecutors must decide whether or not to retry it.
Bunch’s defense team, which includes CWC Advisory Board Member Ronald Safer and Kelley M. Warner, both of Schiff Hardin; and CWC staff attorneys Jane Raley and Karen Daniel, are expected to seek Bunch’s release.
Read the March 2012 Indiana Court of Appeals Decision here.
Release from Schiff Hardin here.