It's been more than 18 years since the Mary Pang frozen food warehouse burned and Seattle firefighters plunged to their deaths when the floor collapsed. Walter Kilgore, Gregory Shoemaker, James Brown and Randy Terlicker all died.
Police quickly suspected that the son of the warehouse owners, Martin Pang, had set the fire. But before they could arrest him, Pang fled to Brazil.
Pang was captured and jailed in Rio de Janeiro, but fought extradition, claiming that he was a scapegoat for an angry community demanding justice.
"If they have someone to put on the frying pan, then it doesn't become a senseless death," Pang told KING 5 in a jailhouse interview in Rio de Janeiro in May 1995.
But Pang later confessed that he'd done it---he'd torched the warehouse for the insurance money because his family's once thriving business was faltering.
In February 1998, Pang struck a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to four counts of manslaughter to avoid a possible life sentence if the case went to trial. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Under the laws at the time, prisoners who behave while serving their sentence are eligible for a 33 percent reduction in their sentence and Pang qualifies. The Department of Corrections confirmed Pang’s current release date is November 2018.
But there’s a new twist.
Sources say police recently uncovered evidence that from behind the walls of the Twin Rivers Unit of the Monroe Correctional Complex Pang has been committing identity theft.
Pang’s attorney, Jeff Ellis, who recently went to court to try and unwind Pang’s guilty plea, confirmed the new allegations during a phone interview. “Yes, there is an investigation going on,” Ellis said. He confirmed that the “allegations involved identity theft,” but would not say who the alleged victims were.
A Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor said that the department has received the case against Martin Pang and is reviewing it, but would not say if or when charges will be filed.
This come just a few months after Pang’s attorney went to court to see if he could get the guilty plea unwound. In November 2012, Ellis said Pang’s confession was coerced and prosecutors were hiding documents that indicated Pang was in California when the warehouse was torched.
Early in the case, prosecutors believed Pang was in California at the time of the fire, but later their theory changed, after Pang wrote that he’d flown from L.A. to Seattle, set the fire, and then flown back to California to establish an alibi.
Ian Goodhew, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said that Pang is one hundred percent guilty of setting the fatal fire. The judge denied Pang’s request to re-open the case.