Sunday, August 6, 2017

California: Raymond Lee Jennings: L.A. times explains how Mark Safarik, an ex-FBI profiler, helped put an innocent man behind bars..."The wrongful conviction has renewed questions about the credibility of profiling and focused attention on the role played by Safarik, the star of the season-long television show “Killer Instinct,” whose testimony was considered crucial at Jennings’ trial."

STORY: "How an ex-FBI profiler helped put an innocent man behind bars," by Marisa Gerber, published by The L.A. Times on July 20, 2017.

SUB-HEADING:  Raymond Lee Jennings wipes away tears during a hearing in a downtown L.A. courtroom. After new evidence was discovered and a former FBI profiler withdrew his testimony, a judge declared Jennings factually innocent.

PHOTO-CAPTION:  Mark Safarik, a crime scene and behavioral analyst for Forensic Behavioral Services, gives testimony during the trial of Shadwick R. King during his trial in Illinois in 2015. (Sandy Bressner / Kane County Chronicle);

PHOTO CAPTION:  "We want to believe in that [Sherlock] Holmesian figure that can turn up and magically solve the crime.— David Wilson, a criminology professor at Birmingham City University, on the public's fascination with profilers."

PHOTO CAPTION:  "Attorney Jeffrey Ehrlich, right, said his client's wrongful conviction was based on speculation by criminal profiler Mark Safarik. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times);

PHOTO CAPTION:  Raymond Lee Jennings holds his prison identification card. Now a free man, he spent 11 years behind bars for murder before the case against him unraveled in dramatic fashion. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

PHOTO CAPTION:  After 11 years behind bars, Raymond Lee Jennings is a free man. He has gotten married and plans to work in real estate. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

GIST:   "Exasperated, Jeffrey Ehrlich paused the true-crime television show every couple of minutes. The same thought kept running through the attorney’s mind: “No, that's wrong.” The episode of “Killer Instinct” highlighted how the work of a retired FBI profiler had helped convict Ehrlich’s client of killing an 18-year-old woman in a Palmdale parking lot. There were no fingerprints left behind, no murder weapon. But clues from the crime scene caught the profiler’s attention. The driver’s-side window of the victim’s car had been lowered several inches, suggesting to the profiler that the teen had rolled it down when someone who looked trustworthy approached. And her tube top was askew — a sign, the profiler said, of a botched sexual assault. “No, no, no,” Ehrlich said, stopping the show again. He thought the episode — titled “Sudden Death” — needed a new name: “Here’s How We Convicted an Innocent Man of Murder.” Years after the profiler’s testimony helped secure a murder conviction, the case against Ehrlich’s client, Raymond Lee Jennings, has unraveled in dramatic fashion. After reinvestigating the case, authorities now suspect gang members killed Michelle O’Keefe and that the motive was robbery, not sexual assault. The profiler, Mark Safarik, has withdrawn his testimony. And a judge earlier this year declared Jennings — the security guard who patrolled the lot the night of the murder — factually innocent, putting a capstone on his legal nightmare that included 11 years behind bars...The wrongful conviction has renewed questions about the credibility of profiling and focused attention on the role played by Safarik, the star of the season-long television show “Killer Instinct,” whose testimony was considered crucial at Jennings’ trial. In an interview with The Times, Safarik defended his analysis of the crime scene, saying he still harbors doubts about Jennings’ innocence. He agreed to withdraw his testimony, he said, after learning that homicide investigators hadn’t interviewed everyone who had been at the scene of the killing, but having the information wouldn’t have necessarily led him to a different conclusion. In recent decades, profilers have captured the public’s imagination as the stars of a plethora of television shows and movies. In the real world, they work to help detectives predict the likely characteristics of a criminal in an unsolved case and explain to jurors how evidence left at crime scenes can reveal a killer’s motive or modus operandi. But there is a deep chasm in legal and academic circles about how much credibility to give profilers. Many detectives credit them with helping investigations, but some researchers have criticized profiling as nothing more than glorified guesswork."  Read on!

The entire story can be found at:

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: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;