New Evidence In 1988 Kansas City Firefighter Explosion Case

Oct 1, 2012

Lawyers representing some of the people convicted of setting off an explosion that killed six Kansas City firefighters in 1988, say they’ve uncovered new evidence that suggests others were at least partially responsible for the tragedy, and the people convicted are innocent.

Attorney Cheryl Pilate says some of the new evidence comes from eyewitness accounts that prosecutors didn’t have in the original investigation.  She’s calling for the US Attorney in Western Missouri to reopen the case, with subpoena power.

“That is the ability to compel testimony and the production of evidence.  And we think that’s absolutely vital to answer the many unanswered questions that remain after all of these years," Pilate said.

Pilate says some of the evidence involves the accounts of eyewitnesses, who were driving by the sense of the explosion just before it happened. Pat O’Conner, an advocate for the four men and one woman convicted in the case, says the recent interviews implicate other people.

“20 years or so have gone by, so he has to start over and see what they do remember.  Some of these people have incredibly good memories, and they’ll say, ‘Yeah I drove by about this time, and coming back I saw this,’” Conner said.

The US Attorney’s office is, apparently not convinced.  It has reviewed most of the new evidence in the case, and so far decided against launching a new investigation.