William “Bill” Amor was wrongfully convicted of arson and murder in 1997. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the death of his mother in law, Marianne Miceli. On September 10, 1995, a fire broke out in the Naperville condo Bill shared with his wife, Tina and his mother in law, Marianne. Bill and his wife left for the movies and shortly thereafter, Marianne called 911 for help, stating that a chair was on fire and she couldn’t get out of the condo. The authorities believed that it was a suspicious fire because it was a fast, hot fire and there were no obvious signs of accidental ignition. Police officers suspected Bill from the beginning, confiscating his shoes to check for accelerant. Bill and Tina were questioned over the course of several days. In October, Bill took a polygraph at Reid & Associates and was told that he was being untruthful. He was questioned repeatedly about what happened before the fire and how it could have started so quickly after he and Tina left. Bill made statements to help the investigation. He told the officers how all three occupants were heavy smokers and that there was a candle usually lit in the living room. Eventually, Bill stated that he had spilled vodka onto some newspapers while and knocked a lit cigarette onto the vodka soaked newspapers. The authorities argued that Bill intentionally started the fire to recover insurance money and better his living situation. Before trial, Bill disputed his previous statements that were made after hours of interrogation without sleep or food and argued that he told the officers what they wanted to hear.
Recent developments in the scientific community of fire investigation have discredited the investigators’ theory that Bill’s alleged actions caused the fire. The original investigation relied upon many of the now debunked myths of arson investigations. The IIP is gathering documents and consulting with experts regarding developments in fire science and false confessions as they apply to Bill’s case.