Woman convicted of arson, murder appeals for new trial

Kristine Bunch's attorney Ron Safer said Tuesday she deserves a new trial because arson science is drastically different than it was in 1996 when Bunch was originally convicted.

Bunch was convicted after the state's experts said she poured kerosene through the linoleum-floored bedroom in which Tony was found and into the living room of the trailer, and lit it with a match. Tony had 80% carbon monoxide level in his blood.

Now, Safer argued, arson detectives know a carbon-monoxide level that high would only result from a fire in an enclosed space, not from a fire that spread into the bedroom from another room.

"That means that he was exposed to a fire in a concealed space, a short space like between a ceiling tile and the ceiling where there were a lot of electrical wire. It also means it could not have happened as the state said it would," said Safer.

An appeals attorney argued other experts say carbon-monoxide levels like those found in Tony can occur with a ventilated or smoldering fire.

The appeals court will have to decide if Kristine should get a new trial. Those rulings can take years, but Safer said he is hopeful this one will take weeks.

He said if the court grants Bunch a new trial it could impact similar cases in Indiana and across the nation. He said other state legislatures have changed their standard for arson cases in light of the new scientific research.