Greensburg woman wins appeal for arson-murder trial

Kristine Bunch

13 Investigates has learned that a central Indiana mother found guilty of setting the fire that killed her three-year-old son has won her appeal for a new trial.

Kristine Bunch of Greensburg could be set free after serving 16 years in prison if the Indiana Attorney General decides not to retry her case.

Bunch was convicted of arson and murder after her Greensburg mobile home caught fire in June 1995. She escaped, but her young son Tony died in the fire.

Investigators said the fire was deliberately set. They found burn patterns and evidence of an accelerant.

But attorneys for Kristine Bunch and Northwestern University's Center for Wrongful Conviction argued the evidence is based on outdated fire investigation techniques.

13 Investigates first uncovered problems with arson cases in 2008 based on what experts now call "junk science."

In its ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals cited new reports showing Tony died from high levels of carbon monoxide, suggesting the fire started in the ceiling.

The court also found the State violated rules, by not turning over burn tests from the ATF.

In her first local television interview, Bunch sat down with 13 Investigates in 2011 to talk about her hopes of getting a new trial based on findings by national fire experts that there were no accelerants.

"Just fighting to get the truth out. I am not an arsonist, I'm not a murderer. To get a new trial that would mean that my truth will be heard," she said.

Bunch was sentenced to 60 years for murder and 50 years for arson and is currently serving those sentences at the same time at the Indiana Women's prison.

13 Investigates is working on getting reaction on today's Appeals Court ruling.

It's now up to the attorney general to decide whether he will contest the ruling, or allow the case to be retried. It will be up to prosecutors in Greensburg to decide if they will retry the case.