Ed Graf has completed nearly 25 years of a life sentence for burning his two stepsons to death. The evidence against him was damning...until it wasn’t. The science, apparently never proven even at the time of Graf’s conviction, has now changed even more. Bullshit theories, once widely accepted for no other reason than that they were widely accepted, have given way to testing and reasoned judgment.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that Graf will either get a new trial, or be released. The prosecution can still bring charges, but they will not have any evidence of arson to use against him; why not? Because even their own expert says that there was none.
There is a significant pile of circumstantial evidence against this man, such as insurance policies taken out on each of his children; in movies that is always a clear indicator of guilt and I imagine it was reported with much glee by the media at the time. Ed Graf was no angel, having been fired from a bank for embezzlement previously.
I make no assumption of Mr. Graf’s guilt or innocence. The life insurance policies, while appearing suspicious when they are reported as nothing but life insurance policies, were actually also college funds. He may have simply been responsibly planning for his children’s future. Embezzlement, if he committed that, is a non-violent, fairly passive crime.
But I want to draw your attention to this quote from the ABC article:
“Prosecutors support a new trial for Graf on the basis of the new analysis, but insist he is guilty.
"In a capital murder case, letting a conviction stand in light of the possibility that an individual was convicted on science now known to be false is unconscionable," prosecutors said in a January court filing.”
In my mind, there is no better attitude for the justice system to have. They believe he’s guilty, but they’re not willing to use that belief as a shield against proving it.
Next post, I want to talk about the changing opinions on the signs of abuse.