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Philadelphia Man Convicted 30 Years Ago Is Back On Trial

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A Philadelphia man who was convicted and sentenced to death in 2000 for murdering his little boys in an arson house fire more than 30 years ago is before another jury.

His retrial was ordered by an appeals court, which ruled his first defense lawyer was "ineffective."

Assistant DA Jude Conroy told jurors 56-year-old Daniel Dougherty "intentionally and maliciously" set the fire that killed his 3 and 4-year-old sons in 1985.

Conroy alleges it happened after a night of drinking, arguing with his live-in girlfriend who threatened to leave him, and his ex-wife who refused his sexual advances.

READ: Jury Selection Under Way For Retrial Of Philadelphia Man

Conroy says fire experts point to three burn patterns from a couch, loveseat, and a table. Defense lawyer David Fryman told jurors it was a tragic accident caused by a "flashover," perhaps a smoldering cigarette or a faulty electrical outlet.

The defense will call experts about fire science, and a flashover scenario in which smoke gets trapped by a ceiling, and at a certain point, everything flammable in a room ignites.

Prosecutors also say Dougherty confessed to police that night saying, "My name is mud, I should die for what I did".

The defense says they were just words from a "distraught, hysterical father."

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