N.Y. Man to Be Freed in Discredited Arson-Science Case

August 21, 2014

A New York City man who has spent 24 years in prison for setting a fire that killed his daughter will be released from custody while prosecutors decide whether to retry him.

U.S. District Judge William Nealon on Tuesday granted 79-year-old Han Tak Lee’s request to be released from prison. The judge has already thrown out Lee’s state conviction and life-without-parole sentence, ruling that it was based on discredited arson science.

Nealon says a magistrate judge will decide the conditions of Lee’s release.

Lee has argued that the fire that killed 20-year-old Ji Yun Lee at a mountain retreat in Pennsylvania in 1989 was accidental. An appeals court granted his request for an independent examination of the evidence. That review concluded the science underpinning the case has been debunked.

Related Articles:
Judge: Flawed Science Led to Murder-by-Arson Conviction in Pennsylvania Case
Out of Prison, Michigan Man Files Suit Over Wrongful Arson Verdict
Old Arson Cases in Texas Being Reviewed by New Panel
New Fire Science Throws Arson Convictions Across the Nation into Doubt

 

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