Taken from the campaign website.
Innocent In Prison
On the evening of October 10, 1999 multiple tragedies struck. Mike turned on a lamp in his apartment and left to get gas in the car for his wife so she would have enough fuel to drive to work in the morning. While he was away from home, for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, flames were seen in the area where the lamp was located, by a neighbor. Mike’s wife was burned and his son died of smoke inhalation.
On November 10, 1999, Mike was intensely interrogated resulting in a false and coerced confession. He was then arrested tried and convicted in Augusta County Virginia. Mike was represented by Public Defender William Bobbitt and James Dugan. The Prosecuting Attorney was A. Lee Irvin.
Mike received five years for arson, 45 years for the murder of his son and found not guilty of attempting to murder his wife.
Combustion Science Engineering, Inc. of Columbia, Maryland did a post fire analysis of this fire incident. They reported prior to the trial the lamp Mike turned on before he left was the probable cause of the fire. It matches the burn pattern on the wall, the time Mike left and a forensic blood test from his wife.
They determined it was scientifically impossible for Mike to have thrown a lit candle into a polyurethane chair before he left. They also determined Mike was not there when the fire started.