54-year-old JoAnn Parks, who served 29 years in jail after she was convicted of killing her three children by setting their home on fire, was released on parole on Tuesday.
Parks was granted clemency by Governor Gavin Newsom last year, almost a decade since an arson review panel concluded that the fire had probably been started accidentally, the San Diego-based California Innocence Project stated.
Parks was convicted of first-degree murder after the death of her children in the 1989 fire at their home in Bell, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Parks, who survived the fire, has maintained her innocence.
Fire investigators at her trial testified that the fire was caused by arson. However, in 2011, a review panel “found the forensic evidence used during the original investigation was invalid” and that “by modern standards, none of the allegedly incriminating evidence … would withstand scrutiny today,” the statement on The Innocence Project website read.
“The investigators and jury were misled by bad science, or no science at all,” the statement added.
Parks’ attorneys maintained that they would continue the fight to have her conviction overturned.
Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project, said in a statement: “Nothing could be worse than losing your children and then being wrongfully convicted of their murder. As we learn more about the science of fires, hopefully these kinds of wrongful convictions will no longer occur.”