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Detective outraged by killer arsonist Martin Pang innocence claims

A retired detective who worked the 1995 case of a fire in an International District building that killed four firefighters says he’s outraged the man responsible is again claiming he’s innocent.

While Martin Pang confessed at the time, attorney Jeffrey Ellis argues it was coerced and has filed a motion to see court documents he says will exonerate Pang.

Pang claims he was in Los Angeles at the time of the fire. He’s been serving 35 years for manslaughter, and will be up for parole in 2018.

But retired Seattle Police detective Stephen O’Leary tells KING 5 there’s no doubt Pang set fire to his family’s building for the insurance money.

“Just prior to the fire, Martin contacted the insurance agent for the building and actually told him the building was going to burn,” O’Leary says.

O’Leary says 18 years after four families lost their loved ones, it’s cruel and unfair to put them through the pain of reliving the deadly fire again.

“These families suffered immeasurably. You have no idea how much there is an impact when you lose a loved one. You could call it manslaughter. I call it a homicide. These guys were murdered.”

Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff at the King County Prosecutor’s Office, called the arguments “meritless,” and said the state has no obligation to release the documents Ellis is requesting, The Seattle Times reported.

KIRO Radio’s Karen Taylor contributed to this report

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