Monday, October 19, 2009

FLASHBACK to "expert" Gerald Hurst who claimed Governor's Mansion was not arson...

So... this guy Gerald Hurst was the "expert" who wrote the report back in 2004 that all the courts looked at and denied... it is the same report that people cite that Rick had 88 minutes to read before the execution (link). Excerpt follows...
The report, authored by Dr. Gerald Hurst, accused investigators of making “major errors” and likened their investigation techniques to an “old wives tale,” according to the Houston Chronicle. At that time, Hurst, an arson expert with a doctorate in chemistry from Cambridge University, had already gained reknown for his role in successfully exonerating prisoners who had been convicted based on faulty arson science.
Okay so Hurst is the same guy who said the arson at the governor's mansion was not arson....
Is arson really cause of mansion fire?
Star-Telegram staff writer

AUSTIN ‹ Rick Perry is the most security-minded, secrecy-obsessed governor
in Texas history.
So how come nothing stopped somebody from burning down his house?

When I saw arson investigators carrying boxes out of the smoldering
Governor's Mansion early Sunday, I couldn't figure out why they were there.
Surely, with all Perry's Double-Nought Spy security gear, nobody could get
inside and burn his house.

As it turns out, one arson expert agrees.

Gerald Hurst of Austin, a chemist and nationally known expert witness, said
Sunday that state fire marshals might have been too quick to rule arson.

At first glance, he said, the fire was probably a construction accident
connected to the mansion remodeling project.

"Most arson cases turn out to be accidental fires," said Hurst, often
called as a defense witness in arson cases. "That fire's not going to be
arson unless there's somebody who's really" ‹ uh, let's just say peeved at

Gosh. A list of all the people who are peeved at Perry would be really
long. And it would include as many Republicans as Democrats.

But until State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado tells what evidence he found,
Hurst will doubt the cause was arson.

For one thing, the flames were originally seen through second-story
windows, and the roof later collapsed in the middle of the mansion behind
the veranda.

Do arsonists usually go upstairs to start a fire?

"Absolutely not," Hurst said. "If you're going to take out a building, you
start as low as possible. Start low and with lots of fuel to burn. Nobody
would go upstairs."

The 152-year-old mansion was in the middle of a $10 million remodeling
project. Workers were scheduled to brace old floors, update the ancient
plumbing, repaint and add a sprinkler system.

If you recall, our governor is living at taxpayer expense on a
$9,900-a-month estate in rural Travis County west of Austin during the

But on Sunday, he was gone on some globe-trotting economic mission to
Sweden, presumably trying to get Texas another Ikea store or a Volvo

The ancient electrical system might have caught fire, Hurst said. Or
workers might have carelessly left something unsecured.

"If the air conditioning was off and somebody was polishing woodwork, then
the oil rags can start a fire," he said. "They're supposed to be kept in a
tin box, but workers don't always do that."

If somebody had set the fire, then the aerial photos would look different,
he said.

"An arsonist will start multiple fires," he said. "You'd see damage all

Citing security concerns, state officials declined to explain what evidence
led them to suspect arson, or how many deputies were guarding the mansion,
or how anybody could get in at 2 a.m.

Also, state officials declined to say how many security cameras were

With Texas Democrats fresh off their state convention Saturday in Austin,
the city was full of potential suspects. There were plenty of partisan jokes
going around on both sides Sunday.

But the real joke's on you and me. We have to pay Perry's rent. Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and
Fridays. 817-390-7538
Okay, the Governor's Mansion was clearly arson. The video tapes of the guy setting it on fire came out the very next day. This arson "expert" has no credibility at all about this subject... he is some sort of junk scientist hack with some strange motivation who should never be taken seriously.

I can't believe this is the same guy. Unreal.


  1. Really? This is a bit of a stretch. His argument is that we shouldn't be quick to rule it as arson, but instead look at all the know that whole 'innocent until proven guilty' thing, remember?

    Your problem is with the columnist who clearly thinks it wasn't arson, not with the arson expert (notice I didn't say "expert", I said expert) who is simply pointing out we should examine all of the facts. His logic is reasonable given the data he had at the time. People are wrong sometimes, even experts.

  2. A bit of a stretch is being way too nice, anon 12:11. Hurst did exactly what one should do: he urged caution.

    This is the latest Perry spin? Typical. Attack and smear the messenger rather than listen to the message.

    Time for Rick Perry to go. The quicker the better.


Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.