The man convicted of starting a house fire in 1995 that claimed the life of three Pittsburgh firefighters was released from jail Friday while he awaits a new trial.
Walking out of the Allegheny County Jail with his arm around his mother, Gregory Brown, 39, is a free man.
“It’s bittersweet. I’ve got to prove my innocence up to God,” Brown said.
In 1997, Brown was convicted of starting a fire that killed three Pittsburgh firefighters on Bricelyn Street in the East Hills. In 2014, his defense team won a new trial after they presented evidence that an ATF agent had offered reward money to witnesses who then lied under oath.
“Had the government not covered up what they did, and had ATF officers not been out of control and lied about their conduct over the years, this day would have come earlier,” defense attorney David Fawcett said.
“I’m happy to be out. I’m innocent like hundreds of others in there in my position. I just got lucky with the right legal team behind me,” Brown said.
“Words can’t describe, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for, for a long time. And I’m very happy for this day,” Brown’s mother, Darlene Buckner, said.
Brown had this message for firefighters:
“I would like to thank the firemen for saving my family, and I just want to let everyone know, me and my family had nothing to do with this. Matter of fact, it wasn’t even a crime committed. It wasn’t even an arson,” Brown said.
Brown’s new trial will take place in federal court. A date has yet to be set.
Until then, Brown will be a free man. He will now stay with a relative while he awaits that new trial.