Key witness takes stand in trial of man accused of killing his toddler sons in 1985

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It was day three in the trial of a man accused of killing his toddler sons in a 1985 house fire. Today, a Philadelphia Fire Marshal took the stand and explained that the fire, in his expert opinion, was intentionally set.


The fire investigator says he’s studied dozens of photos and reports linked to the fatal Oxford Circle house fire. He claims that the fire, which was sparked under the couch, the loveseat and the kitchen table, was set intentionally.

Prosecutors argue Daniel Dougherty had started the fire that killed his 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons John and Dan. 

The now 59-year-old Dougherty maintains he woke up in the overnight hours to see his front window curtains ablaze, but fire officials adamantly refute that claim.

Dougherty has had two previous convictions overturned, one because of a photo of the boys charred bodies shown to another jury that an appellate court ruled was prejudicial and another about an expert testimony.

Dougherty’s defense team is expected to cross examine the fire marshal on Monday, and will call their own experts next week.

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