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Seek Justice: The William Amor Fund
$1,915 raised
13% of $15k goal
13 contributors
0 days left
Ended Aug 5, 2017

William "Bill" Amor was wrongfully convicted in September of 1997 of first degree murder by setting a fire in a Naperville condo in September 1995. In April 2017, he was granted a new trial based on new evidence in the form of scientific advances in fire investigation discredited the prosecution's theory of how the fire started. Bill needs our help to start his life over. The DuPage County State’s Attorney has indicated that it will re-try Bill for this crime in September 2017.

On September 10, 1995 a fire started in the apartment Bill Amor shared with his wife Tina and her mother Marianne. The couple had left earlier for a movie, but Marianne was trapped inside the burning building. Police immediately focused on Bill and subjected him to polygraph tests and confiscated his shoes to test for the presence of accelerant. Exhausted after nearly 17 hours of interrogation by police, having been denied food or sleep, and served with divorce papers, Bill finally confessed that he dropped a lit cigarette onto a pile of newspapers that had previously had vodka spilled on them. Naperville fire investigators focused on a single burn pattern near a swivel chair in the home as the point of origin for the fire.

Bill’s confession was the key to the prosecution’s case. False confessions are one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions nationwide and are often made when an individual is under duress or coerced by law enforcement. In addition, fire investigation techniques have undergone major changes since 1995 and the new science has discredited the findings of the original fire investigation. Research undertaken by The Arson Research Project and affiliated fire investigation experts have since shown that the spilled vodka, newspapers and lit cigarette would be impossible as a source of ignition for the fire.

In granting Bill a new trial, the Dupage County Circuit stated: “ Whatever the reasons for the defendant's scientifically impossible confession, the new evidence places the evidence presented at trial in a different light and undercuts this court's confidence in the factual correctness of the guilty verdict.”

Currently, Bill’s legal team includes attorneys from The Illinois Innocence Project based at the University of Illinois Springfield, The Exoneration Project based at the University of Chicago and pro bono counsel from Cozen O’Connor.

I humbly ask for your support of Bill as he begins a new life after 22 years of wrongful incarceration for a crime that he did not commit and probably never occurred.


For More Information:

“Scientific evidence prompts judge to vacate Naperville man's murder conviction” by Clifford Ward, Chicago Tribune (April 6, 2017) <http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-naperville-arson-hearing-0407-20170406-story.html> 

Man whose conviction in Naperville arson murder was tossed will be retried” by Clifford Ward, Chicago Tribune (April 13, 2017) <http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/ct-naperville-arson-bond-hearing-0414-20170413-story.html>

"Expert testifies Naperville fire that sent man to prison was accident" By Bill Bird, Naperville Sun (December 13, 2016) <http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/crime/ct-nvs-naperville-arson-hearing-st-1213-20161212-story.html>

"Agent says smoldering cigarette didn't cause fatal Naperville fire in '95" by Clifford Ward, Chicago Tribune ( December 16, 2016) <http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/ct-naperville-arson-hearing-1217-20161216-story.html>

“A Case of Vodka: Innocence Project examines murder conviction” by Bruce Rushton, Illinois Times (May 31, 2012) <http://illinoistimes.com/article-10085-a-case-of-vodka.html>

“Case Study: William Amor” The Arson Project <http://thearsonproject.org/case-studies/william-amor/>

 

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