Monday, December 13, 2010

Where Did That Cigarette Lighter Come From? It Wasn't There A Minute Ago?

The day was filled with legal wrangling.  The highlight, however, was the question of the "Magical Mystery Lighter".  The Investigator from the Durham Fire Department stated right there on the stand in front of God & Everybody, as they say, that he couldn't find anything that could have been used to light the fire in the bathtub.  As part of his investigation he looked around to see what might have started the fire.  He ruled out "acts of nature" such as a lightning strike.  He also ruled out an "accident" as in maybe an electrical fire of some sort.  He said he concluded, and checked the right box on his report, that the fire was started "flame to flame" i.e. somebody put a flame to the clothes in the bathtub.  That means it was started intentionally.  Funny thing is, however, he couldn't find anything that might have been used to start the fire; not a book of matches, not a lighter, nothing.  He looked around specifically for some implement that might have been used to start the fire and didn't find anything.  However, in one of the pictures shown to the jury today there was a "lighter" sitting right there in the sink.  When asked by the defense attorney where this lighter was now the investigator said he didn't know where it would be now.  When asked if he had collected it and had it tested for fingerprints he said that he had not because he HAD NOT SEEN THE LIGHTER WHEN HE WAS AT THE SCENE THAT NIGHT.  HE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT IT UNTIL HE SAW IT IN THE PICTURES THAT WERE TAKEN AT SOME LATER TIME.  The pictures were not taken while he was there. Questions by the defense attorney did not elicit further information.  Maybe tomorrow.  I would like to know how this lighter magically appeared in the picture.

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