PITTSBURGH — A man accused in the arson deaths of three firefighters decades ago is scheduled to get a new trial early next year.
Gregory Brown had been tried and convicted of three counts of murder in the deaths of the firefighters in a February 1995 trial. Prosecutors alleged he set the fire at his mother’s home for insurance money.
Brown, 39, was awarded a new trial after arguing that prosecutors hadn’t disclosed that two witnesses were promised reward money. Prosecutors unsuccessfully sought to have the judge step down from the case.
An Allegheny County judge on Wednesday scheduled the new trial to begin Jan. 9 and ordered prosecutors to give the defense redacted copies of recorded interviews with a new witness, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/2dYeorN) reported.
Prosecutors alleged that Brown poured a half-gallon of gasoline on some clothes in the basement of the four-story home and started the blaze in hopes of collecting $20,000 in insurance money for a down payment on a new home. Authorities said Pittsburgh fire Capt. Thomas Brooks, 42, and firefighters Marc Kolenda, 27, and Patricia Conroy, 43, suffocated when their air tanks ran out as they tried to escape the rapidly burning home.
Brown, who was 17 at the time of the fire, was convicted of murder, arson and insurance fraud before the convictions were reversed on appeal. His mother, Darlene Buckner, was convicted of insurance fraud and was placed on probation.
Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com