The Godfather, Part I

As early as September 2000, less than nine months after the fire, investigators had a clear idea of the way the blaze had progressed. Just to make sure, they had, with the help of officials from National Institute of Standards and Technology, built an almost perfect replica of Boland Hall at an abandoned military barracks in South Carolina. It was authentic down to the material that covered the couches, and they burned it, three times, videotaping each experiment and then carefully matching the progress of the inferno to the timelines contained in the statements from the survivors of the real fire. That way they knew the precise moment that Dan Nugent and another resident first spotted the campfire-size blaze smoldering on the couch, or could calculate within a few seconds when John Giunta hacked out his last choking breath on the floor of his dorm room.

Even before that they had conducted experiments that indicated exactly how long a lighter or a match would have to be held at the corner of a piece of construction paper in order for it to reach the ignition point of 451 degrees Fahrenheit, investigators told Stuff.

chapter continues

What they couldn't prove -- what none of the witnesses could tell them, what none of the experiments could show -- was who had actually set the fire.

The only people in the world who could tell them that, the cops figured, were the boys from Florham Park. And they had made it clear through their attorneys that they weren't talking.

The cops tried to press Ryan and LaPore's families. On at least two occasions, sources familiar with the case said, investigators turned up at the offices where Ryan's mother and LaPore's mother worked, insisting that they knew that the boys knew more than they were saying.

Nothing came of the visits and for a time it appeared that the investigation had stalled. But the cops still had a couple of more cards to play.

The way they figured it, if the kids wanted to act like soldiers of the old La Cosa Nostra, that was fine with them. It was a game the cops in New Jersey knew how to play.

1. The Fire

2. The Heart of the Fire

3. A Swirling Sea of Smoke

4. The Morning After

5. Where Were You When the Fire Started?

6. The Probe Begins

7. The Cops are Rattled

8. The Meeting

9. Under Questioning

10. The Fat Lady Sings

11. The Godfather, Part I

12. Hardball

13. The Godfather, Part II

14. Closure

15. Photo Gallery

16. Bibliography

17. The Author

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Happy Land
Kids Who Kill, Part 1
Kids Who Kill, Part 2
Columbine Massacre

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