Arson Survivor Gets Christmas Miracle But No Justice

She's received 430,000 Christmas cards, but no one has been tried for the fire
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2015 4:58 PM CST
Arson Survivor Gets Christmas Miracle But No Justice
Eight-year-old arson survivor Safyre Terry has received an outpouring of public support, but no one has ever been tried for the fire that killed her father and three of her siblings.   (AP Photo/Mary Esch)

Since her story went viral earlier this month, 8-year-old arson survivor Safyre Terry has received more than 430,000 Christmas cards, a trip to Disney World, thousands of gifts, and more than $338,000 in donations, the New York Times reports. But there's one thing she hasn't gotten: justice. Safyre sustained burns to 75% of her body when her Schenectady, NY, home was burned down in May 2013, killing her father and three of her siblings. Despite a handful of evidence and a suspect, the arson has never gone to trial. The investigation into the fatal arson got off to a bad start when Safyre's mother—who said she was sleeping after taking LSD when the fire broke out—admitted to threatening a witness and lying to a grand jury.

Things didn't get any clearer from there. The Times reports Safyre's mother originally claimed her boyfriend set the fire. But he was cleared when another man's name emerged in the case: Edward Leon. Leon admitted he lied to the court about his whereabouts the morning of the fire, according to the Albany Times Union. Leon has now admitted to standing outside the Terry home moments before the fire ("just a hell of a coincidence") and sending threatening messages to Safyre's dad ("Die, Dave, Die!"), who was planning on marrying Leon's ex-girlfriend. He's facing up to 10 years in prison for perjury when he's sentenced in March. But he's not being tried for the arson. "You'd have to be blind, deaf, and dumb not to see all the evidence that points to him," Safyre's aunt says. "Give me a break. It's clear as day." (This man's retrial for arson ended in a shocker.)

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