Jury hears dueling fire science experts in trial of man accused of arson murder of two sons

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — At the third arson murder trial of a man accused of killing his two young sons in an Oxford Circle rowhouse fire in 1985, the defense called an expert witness. 

Fire science investigator Timothy Hadwick told jurors he disagreed with the fire marshal’s initial report that the fire inside the rowhouse was intentionally set in three locations: the sofa, loveseat and under a table. 

An outside investigator retained by the prosecution, Thomas Schneiders, previously testified and confirmed they could tell it was arson, because of the V-shaped burn patterns. 

Hadwick countered by saying it’s common to see those patterns in a full-room involvement when everything burns. He also said the fire science in 1985 lacked documentation on those fuel packages, the pieces of furniture, and the cause of the fire should have been undetermined.

Daniel Dougherty, 59, is accused of intentionally setting the fire that killed his 3- and 4-year-old sons. His two previous convictions were overturned on appeals.


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