New evidence found in 1988 K.C. blast case

KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 30, 2008 (UPI) -- Prosecutors say new allegations have surfaced in the case of five people convicted of murder in a 1988 explosion that killed six Kansas City firefighters.

The allegations have come from an ex-convict who said he saw a security guard, and not any of the five defendants, fleeing the scene of the fire and explosions at a highway construction site, The Kansas City Star reported Monday.

The newspaper said its investigation into the 1997 murder convictions of brothers Frank, Skip and Bryan Sheppard and co-defendants Richard Brown and Darlene Edwards turned up an allegation from an ex-convict and a former woodcutter at the construction site who said he saw a woman he believed to be security guard Donna Costanza running from a burning truck. He reportedly added that fellow guard Debbie Riggs had earlier offered him money to set fire to her truck to collect insurance.

The Star said the allegations prompted agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to interview the informant, which in turn has led federal prosecutors to notify defense attorneys that new evidence in the case has been found.

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