Florida-based fire expert John Lentini ridiculed the findings and testimony of a deputy fire marshal who concluded Todd Willingham set the house fire that killed his 2-year-old daughter and 1-year-old twins. That fire marshal, Manuel Vasquez, has since died.
“The bottom line is all of the evidence is consistent with an accidental fire,” Lentini said.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office continues to stand behind the arson finding.
Lentini referred to Vasquez as “misinformed” and “totally off the wall” and said his conclusions were “completely without merit, completely unreliable.”
Later, Baird seemed to hint at which way he was leaning when he asked fire expert Gerald Hurst, “If we can say it wasn’t arson, can we say what it was?”
Hurst replied that he believed the fire was an accident, probably caused by faulty wiring.
San Antonio lawyer Gerry Goldstein also presented evidence that a jailhouse snitch who testified in the original trial that Willingham had confessed later changed his story. Goldstein presented an affidavit showing the informant had recanted. That affidavit had never been part of the case file.