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Guardiola with his rtiece in 19$9, eightliwnths befive his photo courtesy Guardiolaflunily Brown, who, according to court records, issued the grand jury subpoena. The ruse became evident when Torres, Selvera and Guardiola reached the district attorney’s office that Wednesday morning in August 199o. They met briefly with Brown, the assistant DA, but Guardiola was soon left alone with the investigators. An appeals court would later conclude that Torres and Selvera never had any intention of bringing Guardiola before the grand jury. The subpoena had been sentjust as his sister had fearedto lure him into custody. Guardiola was interrogated for 13 hours straight. Though there was no evidence against him and he wasn’t supposed to be in custody without probable cause, the investigators handcuffed him and hauled him from Brown’s office to a police station and later to Arson Division headquarters. He was given a polygraph Polygraphs are notoriously unreliableerror rates are upwards of 40 percentwhich is why they can’t be admitted as evidence in court. One of their few uses, criminal-justice experts say, is as a police interrogation technique to manipulate defendants into confessing. Guardiola was told his answers about the fire indicated deception, but the results weren’t preserved and can’t be confirmed. \(Because polygraphs are interrogation tools and not admissible evidence, police officers are allowed to lie to During the interrogation, Guardiola says, he was kept in a locked room. He says he was yelled at, that officers pushed him around and placed their legs between his knees to intimidate him. “They scared the hell out of me,” he says. Investigators deny that Guardiola was mistreated in any way. \(It’s impossible to confirm which side is telling the truth. The interrogation wasn’t recorded; many interrogations are now videotaped, though 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 2, 2009 went to the bathroom, an officer escorted him there and back. tion, the officers kept insisting that he set the fire. Late into the night, Guardiola continued to say he had no idea how the fire started. Around midnight, he was tiring. He hadn’t eaten in io hours, and he was feeling the symptoms of heroin withdrawalsevere nausea and a headache. The investigators were tired too. Torres wanted to call it a night. But Selvera insisted they keep going a little longer. He said he would question Guardiola alone, according to court records, and took in with him the photos of the victims’ charred bodies. A short time later, when Selvera emerged from the locked room, Guardiola had admitted to starting the fire. The confession is near-perfect. Guardiola said he acted alone, so there would be no accomplices to track down. He said he started the fire exactly as Torres had theorized and as Councilman Reyes had heard, by pouring a gallon of gasoline along the back of the house, on top of the gas meter and under the door. His stated motive also matched investigators’ theory born from Reyes’ tip: Guardiola confessed to igniting the fire to prevent the Gonzales family from testifying against him about the recent burglaries. Two days later, he recanted the confession, saying it was coerced and made up, that Torres and Selvera wrote out the confession that they wanted \(the officers say the confession he’s innocent. At Guardiola’s 1993 trial, his court-appointed attorneys tried to undermine both the forensic evidence of arson and the validity of the confession. They argued that both the supposed method and motive to which Guardiola confessed were fantastical. They portrayed Torres’ theory that gasoline ignited