Tuesday, November 1, 2016

G. Michelle Yezzo; Criminal Investigation Bureau; Oho; (Part 3): White Elephant case? Jim Parsons' case; Ohio: Parsons' murder conviction for killing his wife overturned after appeal court hears evidence involving the credibility of G. Michelle Yezzo, the embattled, now-retired forensic scientist.

Image result for "white elephant"

In the years since I started publishing this Blog I have become increasingly disturbed by the 'white elephant' in the room: Sheer, unadulterated, willful   misconduct in the criminal justice system - much  of it involving forensic evidence - committed by lab technicians,  pathologists, police officers, prosecutors and others.  Think Annie Dookhan; Think Sonia Farak; Think David Kofoed; Think Charles Smith; Think Ken Anderson;  Think Fred Zain;  I have therefore decided to run this image of a white elephant at the top of every applicable post henceforth, to draw our reader's attention to   what I see as a major problem in all too many criminal justice system's - my own included.  Harold Levy; Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009; http://www.t-mlaw.com/blog/post/the-elephant-in-the-crime-lab/


STORY: "Jim Parsons'  murder conviction overturned," by reporter Carl Ashby, published by The Norwalk Reflector on April 23, 2016.

 GIST;  "A judge has overturned the murder conviction of Jim Parsons, a Norwalk man accused of killing his wife in 1981. Visiting Judge Thomas Pokorny issued the ruling today in Huron County Common Pleas Court and ordered a new trial. Prosecutors said they plan to appeal the decision. Parsons, who is in poor health, will be released from prison soon and transferred to a nursing home. Defense attorneys Donald Caster and Liza Dietrich last week presented evidence to Pokorny in an attempt to prove a crime lab scientist’s “controversial behavior” is grounds for overturning the conviction and getting a new trial. Pokorny heard testimony involving the credibility of G. Michelle Yezzo, the embattled, now-retired forensic scientist.  Parsons, 78, has spent 23 years in prison for the Feb. 12, 1981 slaying of his 41-year-old wife, Barbara. She died in the bedroom of her Sycamore Drive home after someone wielding a large, heavy object beat her 15 times in the head. Parsons has claimed he was away from his home that day, working at his auto-repair business. When Parsons was arrested Feb. 23, 1993, a breaker bar was found in his car. Mechanics use a breaker bar (aka breaker) to loosen stubborn nuts and bolts. Authorities said the tool found in Parsons’ car was a different breaker bar than the murder weapon, which was recovered weeks after the 1981 murder.  “The prosecution has never argued that Ms. Parsons' blood was on the breaker bar,” Caster told the Reflector last week. “Michelle Yezzo was not a serologist or DNA expert. Instead, she claimed to see ’patterns’ made in blood on certain crime scene evidence (a sheet and a nightgown) that were ’consistent with’ marks she says she saw on the breaker bar. That was the way the state linked the breaker bar to the crime. No biological evidence was ever found on the breaker bar,” Caster said.
The murder charge was filed against Parsons in 1993 based on evidence authorities resubmitted to state crime analysts. Months later, after a two-week trial with 21 witnesses, a jury spent four hours deliberating before finding Parsons guilty of one count of murder. He was sentenced to 15 years to life.........During last week’s hearing, defense witnesses testified about the credibility of Yezzo. Her direct supervisor at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Daniel Cappy, testified there were years of performance evaluations indicating Yezzo had “behavior issues” and trouble working with fellow employees, but said she was “one of the most capable” scientists in the lab — especially when handling complex cases. Yezzo performed lab work in the murder case from February through May 1993, but was on administrative leave for three months before Parsons’ trial in connection with complaints about her from co-workers. The retired BCI worker, who worked there for 32 years, testified Thursday she didn’t falsify evidence or her findings or lie during her Aug. 3, 1993 testimony. “I testified to the results … not to make points with anybody,” she said. “I see the victim as a victim. I see the subject as the subject.”

The entire story can be found at:

See related Norwalk Reflector story (same date)  at the link below: (With some quotes from the court ruling):  "Huron County Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said the state will appeal the decision made by visiting Judge Thomas Pokorny in common pleas court. He essentially ruled forensic scientist G. Michele Yezzo’s findings were “the difference maker” in Parsons’ conviction, but her analysis and conclusions are suspect........." Pokorny said there was “clear and convincing evidence” that Yezzo’s testimony in 1993 “was important and significant in establishing” a breaker bar was the suspected murder weapon. The judge said Yezzo’s testimony was criticized when she consistently used “the phrase ’consistent with’ in her analysis of the blood patterns” and she also was criticized about her opinions “about the feasibility of recessed letters on the tool,” which left a blood pattern on bed sheets. Also, the judge said Yezzo’s “integrity and conclusions may be suspect as she ’will stretch the truth to satisfy a department’” and combined with her “troubled behavior” at work, the evidence “could every well have been useful in its cross-examination of Ms. Yezzo.”


PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:  http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html  Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;