This is a narrative made-up from a true crime that occured in Vinton, Virginia in the late at night summer of ninteen ninety-four.

By: John Merchant

After reading this, please go to for the rest of the story.
At the end of summer in nineteen ninety-four the fire unit in the little town of Vinton Virginia got a call up that a dwelling was on fire not far from the fire station. In responding to that call the firemen entered the residence through a second floor dormer, this is the normal place for bedrooms. The thick smoke required them to get low on the floor to where the smoke was the lightest, but it still wasn’t imperceptible enough that they could see over a couple inches from their eyes. Feeling around, the leading fireman found the bedpost and felt the top of the bed where he expected someone may have been sleeping and overcome with smoke.
There was a body in the bed and the smoke was clearing quickly through the open window where they entered. Through the clearing smoke they could see it was a male but inspecting the person more they realized smoke was not why he was still lying there. He had a gunshot injury to his left temple and the high temperature from the fire in the closed up dwelling was making the blood bubble out of the head wound.
Inspecting the other bedroom in the small house they found two children and both of them also had been shot in the head. Each youngster had two bullet wounds to the head, fired a close range. Close enough that the powder burns encircled the wounds.
In the meantime a fireman had gained admission to the downstairs, and like the others, he had crawled into the living room where he found a burnt body lying on a couch. It wasn’t till later that this person was discovered to be a woman and her death was from strangulation. This exam revealed she was wearing only a pair of turquoise panties and the rest of her clothing was underneath her body. All but the white shorts she had been wearing and they were across the room. On the stairway leading to the upstairs the police later found a clump of hair that had been pulled out while struggling with someone.
The police, focusing on one particular person, a long time friend of the family, ignored any and all other evidence pointing to someone other than this friend.
Through lies, made up evidence and perjury this friend was convicted and executed for the murders
There was actually no evidence connecting him to the murders, no confession, no motive, not even a murder weapon. But lies from the lead investigator, and lies from the firearm expert and lies from a jailhouse snitch convicted the man.
The fictionalized version of this story is revealed in the book, Smoke and Murders. For an excerpt and the back and front cover, and to {purchase|buy{, go to and the details of the crime can be viewed at
One person being convicted in this way and the people that caused it put all of us in jeopardy.
See the facts in the case at

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The manuscript, Smoke and Murders, was constructed in hopes of bringing justice to Earl Bramblett. You can see and read anpassage at There is also a assessment and my biography and a short trailer for the novel.

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