Indiana woman claims agent framed her in son's death, sues government

Kristine Bunch is filing a lawsuit against two fire investigators and an ATF agent.
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A woman who was wrongfully convicted of murdering her 3-year-old son in 1995 is suing the government and alleges a federal officer helped investigators frame her for the crime.

13 Investigates first reported Kristine Bunch's story in 2011. Bunch spent 15 years of a 60 year sentence behind bars after being convicted of setting a fire at her Greensburg mobile home that killed her son, Tony. She was released in 2012 after an appellate court reversed her conviction due to discrepancies in evidence.

"It's important for me because I lost 16 years," Bunch told Eyewitness News in an interview via Skype.

Bunch's attorney filed a lawsuit last week claiming a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives laboratory agent who tested samples in the case falsified the report to say the fire was intentional.

An ATF spokesperson on Monday said the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Bunch has filed a separate lawsuit against two Indiana fire marshals who worked on the case. The most recent lawsuit was changed in order to file the case against the government.

According to the filing in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana, former State Fire Marshal investigators Bryan Frank and James Skaggs "fabricated evidence" against her.

Attorneys say the duo got help from ATF Investigator William Kinard, who conducted testing to determine if accelerants were used.

"Working together with Kinard...Skaggs and Frank caused Kinard's report to be altered so that it falsely stated that accelerants were found in exhibits 6 and 8," read the lawsuit. "In accordance with this corrupt joint action, Kinard agreed to alter his report to state that accelerants were found...and concocted an 'official' report."

In March 2012, the Indiana Court of Appeals tossed out Kristine Bunch's conviction, saying Kinard's initial report that showed no accelerants had been hidden. Now, Kristine's attorneys say the ATF should have to pay her $17 million and the former investigators an undetermined amount.

The government denied the claims and refused to settle, leading to Bunch's attorneys filing the official lawsuit last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.