Lawyer: Innocent man admitted deadly fire

Nov. 14, 2012 at 5:32 PM
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SEATTLE, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A man who admitted setting a warehouse fire in Seattle that killed four firefighters was in California at the time, his lawyer says.

Martin Pang, son of the owners of the Mary Pang Frozen Food Products warehouse, was sentenced to 35 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the 1995 fire. But Jeff Ellis, a lawyer who began representing Pang two years ago, says he has found documents in which prosecutors say Pang had an alibi, KING-TV reported.

Ellis said he found documents in the King County prosecutor's office that were apparently withheld from the defense at the time.

"And those documents were sworn statements by prosecutors and law enforcement officials, and they swore out in very definitive terms unequivocally that Mr. Pang was in California at the time the warehouse fire was started," he said.

In a confession made to FBI agents after he was arrested in Rio de Janeiro, Pang said he made a quick trip to Seattle to start the fire and then flew back to Los Angeles. Ellis said Pang was coerced into admitting the crime.

Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff in the prosecutor's office, denied anything was withheld from the defense and said Pang admitted the crime because he was guilty.

"We were one hundred percent certain when he plead guilty in the 1990s and we're one hundred percent certain now and we're gonna make sure that Mr. Pang serves every day of his prison sentence," he said.

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