In 1989, JoAnn Parks was found guilty of murdering her three children when a fire broke out in the family home and killed them. During her trial – and even til today – Ms. Parks continued to profess her innocence as she was tried in a triple homicide. The fire investigators testified at the time of her trial that the fire left the children with no ability to exit the escape the raging inferno, leaving people to speculate that the blaze was actually a case of arson and that only one person could have been responsible for it: Ms. Parks. The jury came back with a guilty verdict and she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
59 years later, with the help of the advancement in forensic evidence, the San Diego- based California Innocence Project had her case reinvestigated and was able to determine that the science originally used in the case wasn’t up to modern-day standards and would have rendered the evidence given as inadmissible. This is what caused the investigators to only see Ms. Parks supposed guilt instead of seeing that the fire had been an accident. California Governor Gavin Newsom was presented with this newly reviewed evidence and immediately granted Ms. Parks clemency and set her free from nearly three centuries of wrongful imprisonment. The director of the California Innocence Project, Justin Brooks, has made a statement about the tragic circumstances that Ms. Parks has been made to endure. Not only did she have to deal with the grieving process of having just lost her three children but was immediately swept up into a court trial and conviction of something she wasn’t responsible for. The heartache and suffering that Ms. Parks was made to endure is something that no parent hopes to ever have to experience. And, regrettably, Ms. Park’s case is only one of what can assume to be hundreds if not thousands of similar cases. That is why the California Innocence Project was initiated, to help those who may have been wrongfully accused due to the inferior forensic evidence techniques of the time.
The Daily Mail shared the story of Ms. Parks and their readers have had mixed reactions. The majority of the people have shown their support of her and offered their sympathies and advice on how she can pick up her life after this horrible experience. Others have expressed disbelief that this is truthful and that maybe the science is being manipulated into giving someone a free pass from jail. There are also those who say that they are not certain what to believe. There is no way to truly know what the right answer is. One can only hope that justice has truly been served.