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State drops charges against mom whose murder, arson convictions were overturned

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The state has dropped charges against Kristine Bunch, the Decatur County woman who claimed she was wrongfully convicted of killing her son in a fire in 1995. Bunch was convicted in 1996 of murder and arson, but the Court of Appeals ordered a new trial this year.

Schiff Hardin LLP in Chicago, which defended Bunch, issued a release Tuesday announcing the state’s dismissal of charges stemming from the fire at her home and death of Bunch’s 3-year-old son. She fought the charges in 2006, claiming, among other things, newly discovered evidence in the form of advances in the field of fire science. A split Court of Appeals in March reversed the denial of her quest for post-conviction relief.

Bunch received a 60-year sentence for her son’s death.

“As the Indiana Appellate Court ruled months ago, a jury hearing all of the evidence likely would have found Kristine not guilty,” said the joint statement from Schiff Hardin and the Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions. “We do not condemn the State for bringing arson-related charges in 1995. That was the equivalent of the Stone Ages for arson investigations. Today we know so much more about the science of fire. As the new evidence offered by world-renowned experts showed, Kristine could not have set this fire as the State contended. The fire was accidental.”

In August, Bunch was freed from prison after being behind bars for 16 years.



 
    
 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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