Witness ‘Highly Motivated’ To Testify In ’95 Fatal Fire Trial
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – His name is Greg Brown and he’s currently serving three consecutive life sentences for the setting the fire that claimed the lives of three firefighters in a house on Bricelyn street in Homewood nearly two decades ago.
Tuesday, he was in court asking for a new trial after the Innocence Project at Point Park University petitioned the court saying witnesses who testified against him were promised money and were paid by the government.
“We’ve looked at this case for seven years and a lot of things have emerged from it that suggest that justice may not have been done,” Point Park University professor Bill Moushey said.
Key to Brown’s conviction was Ibrahim Abdula who testified at trial he overheard Brown admitting to setting the fire.
On Tuesday, Abdula’s former probation officer testified that an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms told him that Abdula, who was just 15 years old at the time, could get $15,000 for his cooperation.
Lou Topper said he was concerned about the truthfulness of the Abdula’s testimony.
“Dangling $15,000 out in front of a 15-year-old kid is – you make your own suppositions there,” Topper said.
Abdula testified that the word “promise” was never used, but that he was “highly motivated” to testify by the prospect of so much money.
Still, Abdula testified again today that he did, in fact, overhear Brown admit to the arson.
The testimony continues Wednesday, but for now the picture is muddled. It’s unclear if there will be a new trial or whether Brown’s conviction will stand.