PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A judge has granted what could be considered a split decision in the bond hearing for Greg Brown, the man who has served 19 years in prison for a house fire in Homewood-Brushton that killed three Pittsburgh firefighters.
Last month, the judge ordered a new trial for Brown.
Brown’s attorneys petitioned that he be released from prison on bond while he awaits his new trial.
Today, Judge Joseph Williams granted bond for Brown, but set it at $750,000 straight, which means that Brown will need to come up with the total amount of the bond in order to be released.
In setting the bail so high, Williams said was taking into consideration the emotional toll on the families of the fallen firefighters.
“I cannot play ostrich to the fact that there were three firefighters who lost their lives,” Williams said. “A band aid is being pulled off the families who though they had closure.”
Brown was found guilty in 1997 of second-degree murder, arson and conspiracy and sentenced to three consecutive life prison terms in the deaths of firefighters Thomas Brooks, Patricia Conroy, and Marc Kolenda.
They died fighting a fire at Brown’s home on Bricelyn Street when they were trapped in a lower-level family room and their air tanks ran out.
Prosecutors said Brown conspired with his mother to set the house on fire to collect on the insurance.
Williams granted Brown the trial after it was revealed that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms paid witness who testified against him but did not disclose that fact to the court.
The district attorney office says the conviction is just and is appealing both rulings — the one ordering the new trail and the one setting bail. But posting a $750,000 bail will be a very tall order for the brown family.
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