Tag Archives: arson

Chicago Man Free After Arson and Murder Charges Vacated

Jennifer Keiper, WLS-AM 890 News

(CHICAGO) – Adam Gray was 14 years old when he was convicted of setting an apartment fire on Chicago’s Southwest Side that killed two elderly people. In 1993, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

“I had to make peace with the idea that I was going to die in prison for something that I didn’t do,” said Gray.

Gray said his confession was coerced and he gave it after being questioned for seven hours but it was something else that led to his prison release, earlier this week.

Cook County prosecutors decided to dismiss the charges against him saying fire science advancements raised too many questions about his conviction.

Gray’s lawyer, Terri Mascherin of Jenner & Block, spent recent years fighting his convictions based on the unreliability of the scientific testimony at his trial. “I think that this is a classic case of how the authorities can fall into tunnel vision. They had a case here, where they’re investigating a fire – which, it turns out, was probably an unfortunate accident,” said Mascherin.

Gray says he’s still having difficulty believing he’s a free man after spending more than half his life in prison.

Copyright 2017 WLS-AM News

Suspects Charged in Lake View Arson and Burglary

Bail set at $150K for Lake View man charged with arson

(CHICAGO) Bail was set at $150,000 Wednesday for a 24-year-old man charged with arson in Lake View on the North Side.

Officers saw Colin Weis setting fire to a couch Tuesday that was placed near recycled oil kept outside a Lake View restaurant at 2:50 a.m. in the 900 block of West Belmont, according to Chicago Police.

Damage was limited and no one was hurt, police said.

Weis, who lives in the 3200 block of North Clark, was arrested at the scene and charged with a felony count of arson.

Weis is scheduled to appear in court next May 31.

Bail set at $75K for man charged with Lake View burglary attempt

(CHICAGO) Bail was set at $75,000 on Wednesday for a man charged with breaking into and attempting to burglarize a Lake View neighborhood home on the North Side.

David Smith, 34, of the 4900 block of North Kenmore, faces one felony count of attempted residential burglary and one misdemeanor count of criminal trespass to land, according to a statement from Chicago Police.

About 2:40 a.m. Tuesday, officers spotted Smith running away from a backyard in the 3200 block of North Seminary, police said.

At the home, a chair had been placed under a window, the window was opened and items were removed in an attempt to make it easier for the burglar to climb inside, police said. Smith was found hiding in a garage nearby and was subsequently identified as the would-be burglar.

Smith is scheduled to appear in court next May 31.

FBI investigating arson at Noble Horse Theatre

                                                                               photo credit: Sam Charles, Sun-Times Media

(Chicago)   A fire that destroyed several carriages at the Noble Horse Theatre on Feb. 6 has been ruled an arson, and the FBI is investigating.

Firefighters responded to the horse stable fire about 1:10 a.m. in the 1400 block of North Sedgwick, according to Fire Media Affairs. The blaze was struck out about 30 minutes later.

A firefighter on the scene said about four horses that were kept in a different part of the building were not exposed to smoke or fire.

More than a half dozen burned horse carriages could be seen outside the theater as firefighters worked to put out the flames.

Officials initially believed the fire to be accidental, but said Monday it has been ruled arson. The investigation has been turned over to the FBI, police said.

FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde said the agency does not investigate all fires.

“However, it is not uncommon for us to participate in the initial stages of a potential arson investigation with our federal, state and local partners to determine if there is FBI jurisdiction,” Hyde said.

“While I can confirm that we are investigating this matter and coordinating with those law enforcement partners, it is an ongoing investigation and, accordingly, I am not at liberty to provide additional information at this time,” she added.

According to its website, The Noble Horse Theatre stages theatrical performances of plays featuring several breeds of horses and has the capacity for up to 50 horses.

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