Monday, December 5, 2022

Tyree Bowie; Leah Mullinex: (Pennsylvania): Controversial 'babysitter' case set to begin today: As Court Reporter Aimee Ambrose reports in the York Dispatch: "Bowie was charged Sept. 19, 2018 and jailed the next day. He’s been in custody without bail over the more than four years since then, according to court documents. The boy’s aunt, Sarah Mullinix, has led a Facebook campaign on his behalf. She’s blamed the York County Children, Youth and Family agency for failing to heed calls and complaints about Dante’s welfare for months and weeks leading up to his death. Mullinix has also argued Bowie was not responsible for Dante’s death, that police arrested the wrong suspect. She’s alleged other people her sister knows physically abused the child." HL)


PASSAGE OF THE DAY:  "Investigators alleged Bowie was the last to have the 2-year-old boy before he died of injuries at a local hospital. Dante’s mother, Leah Mullinix, went to the hospital for medical aid around 8:30 on the evening of Sept. 6 and left the child in Bowie’s care, according to police. Over the course of about two hours, Bowie apparently drove Dante around town, including making a stop at a gas station. Bowie allegedly later told police he gave the boy some cookies, though gave conflicting accounts of where they were. But when Dante choked and stopped breathing, Bowie rushed him back to the hospital around 10:30 that night, charging documents show."

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STORY: "Trial in Toddler's death set to start Monday," by Reporter Aimee Ambrose, published by The York Dispatch on December 2, 2022.

GIST: "Jury selection is set to begin Monday as a York City man goes to trial, accused of killing a toddler he babysat more than four years ago.


Tyree Bowie, 43, faces charges of first- and third-degree murder, as well as child endangerment stemming from the death of Dante Mullinix in September 2018.


Investigators alleged Bowie was the last to have the 2-year-old boy before he died of injuries at a local hospital.


Dante’s mother, Leah Mullinix, went to the hospital for medical aid around 8:30 on the evening of Sept. 6 and left the child in Bowie’s care, according to police.


Over the course of about two hours, Bowie apparently drove Dante around town, including making a stop at a gas station. Bowie allegedly later told police he gave the boy some cookies, though gave conflicting accounts of where they were.


But when Dante choked and stopped breathing, Bowie rushed him back to the hospital around 10:30 that night, charging documents show.


Dante was taken in for treatment but died several days later.


An autopsy deemed traumatic brain injury, strangulation and chest compression injuries caused the death.


Bowie was charged Sept. 19, 2018 and jailed the next day. He’s been in custody without bail over the more than four years since then, according to court documents.


The boy’s aunt, Sarah Mullinix, has led a Facebook campaign on his behalf.


She’s blamed the York County Children, Youth and Family agency for failing to heed calls and complaints about Dante’s welfare for months and weeks leading up to his death.



Mullinix has also argued Bowie was not responsible for Dante’s death, that police arrested the wrong suspect. She’s alleged other people her sister knows physically abused the child.



Leah Mullinix is also charged in the case, facing a felony count of child endangerment. Her next hearing is apparently scheduled for Jan. 18, according to court records."


The entire story can be read at:

https://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/crime/2022/12/02/trial-in-toddlers-death-set-to-start-monday/69695994007/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue/resurce. 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;


SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


—————————————————————————————————


FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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Beleaguered Lab Series: (Part 2): Australia: Queensland DNA Lab: "Sexual assault victim ­wrongly linked to hit-run death - and samples from the body of a murdered woman rendered useless when testing fault caused cross-contamination in more than 100 cases at the troubled Queensland DNA laboratory, The Australian, (Reporter David Murray) reports..."Managers failed to investigate the mass contamination of samples throughout the first half of 2008, then sought legal advice on wording they could use in court disclosures to conceal it from the public, according to evidence to a $6m commission of inquiry. Forensic scientist Ingrid Moeller was working on her first big case – the abduction and murder of a young woman by an unknown offender after a night out in Gladstone – when she noticed contamination of control samples where there should have been no DNA. She was alarmed and brought the red flag to the attention of her team leader, Justin Howes, but effectively nothing was done. “More samples started coming in for the case in the following months,” Dr Moeller says in a statement provided to the inquiry. “Instead of thoroughly investigating the cause of the contamination, samples continued to be processed.”


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: “It follows revelations in The Weekend Australian of a separate contamination scandal in the lab that led to a mother being wrongly told her deceased son must have been switched at birth. In that case, flawed processes resulted in tests repeatedly finding a mother and father could not be the biological parents of a young man whose skeletal remains were found in Brisbane’s south. More than three years later, a review by renowned forensic scientist Dr Kirsty Wright and colleague Tim Gardam found a bandsaw likely cross-contaminated samples.  New DNA testing confirmed it was the couple’s son."


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STORY:  “DNA LAB shambles linked sexual assault victim to fatal hit-run," The Australian, (Reporter David Murray) reports, on November 21, 2022. (David Murray is The Australian's National Crime Correspondent. He was previously Crime Editor at The Courier-Mail and prior to that was News Corp's London-based Europe Correspondent.)


GIST; ‘A sexual assault victim was ­wrongly linked to a hit-and-run death, and samples from the body of a murdered woman were rendered useless when a testing fault caused cross-contamination in more than 100 cases at Queensland’s troubled DNA laboratory.


 Managers failed to investigate the mass contamination of samples throughout the first half of 2008, then sought legal advice on wording they could use in court disclosures to conceal it from the public, according to evidence to a $6m commission of inquiry.


Forensic scientist Ingrid Moeller was working on her first big case – the abduction and murder of a young woman by an unknown offender after a night out in Gladstone – when she noticed contamination of control samples where there should have been no DNA.


She was alarmed and brought the red flag to the attention of her team leader, Justin Howes, but effectively nothing was done.

“More samples started coming in for the case in the following months,” Dr Moeller says in a statement provided to the inquiry.


“Instead of thoroughly investigating the cause of the contamination, samples continued to be processed.”


A total of 19 samples from the case had to be retrospectively failed, rendering them unreliable and unusable in criminal proceedings.


Many of those were from the murder victim’s body, found in bushland on the outskirts of the coastal Queensland town.


Fortunately other evidence was unaffected, including a sample from material used to bind the victim that contained the DNA of the man who raped and killed her.


“Contaminations continued to affect extraction batches from early February to late June of 2008. Numerous other cases were affected by the contaminations,” Dr Moeller wrote.


In another murder, around 26 samples had to be retrospectively failed, making those unusable too.


Other documents provided to the inquiry show the DNA of a woman who had reported a sexual assault was found mixed with the DNA of a person killed in a hit-and-run.


Dr Moeller said in her evidence that she was “horrified” when she learned a sexual assault victim was wrongly linked to a murder.


“My understanding is that victim of the sexual assault case was then actually asked questions about the murder case,” she said.


The woman was found to have no connection to the death.


It was eventually discovered that following the introduction of a new automated DNA extraction process called DNAIQ, samples were leaking and cross-contaminating other unrelated cases in the same batch.


Then-acting managing scientist Cathie Allen prepared a briefing note on the contamination disaster for Queensland Health executives. It stated that a total of 117 cases had been identified as being affected including 25 major crimes, at a time when the lab was already under pressure in the media over revelations of major testing backlogs.


“These events have a large media implication, given recent adverse media coverage of QHFSS (Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services),” Ms Allen wrote. 


“The Victorian Forensic Laboratory has recently encountered contamination of a much larger scale and this has been widely reported in the media.

“Comparisons could be drawn between Victoria and Queensland, although the cause of the contamination in Victoria has not been reported.”



Seeking to limit the public fallout, the lab sought legal advice about what it needed to disclose to the courts. 


Joint advice was subsequently provided by Queensland’s then solicitor-general Walter Sofronoff, and an experienced barrister, Peter Davis.


“Queensland Health wishes to make proper disclosure of the irregularities in the testing, but does not, if possible, wish to use the word ‘contamination’ for fear that this might damage public confidence in DNA analysis in Queensland,” the advice stated.


The two lawyers provided written advice that Queensland Health should make “proper disclosure” in reports because it was an honest and proper course.


If it failed to do so, convictions could later be quashed and scientists could be accused of bias, undermining public confidence in the system, the advice added.


“It is not possible for us to draw the actual wording as this involves scientific input,” the lawyers stated. “There is some concern about the use of the word ‘contamination’. That word need not be used if the circumstances can be otherwise accurately described.


“Instructing solicitors can certainly assist in the drawing of the wording, and we can, if required, settle that wording.”


Mr Sofronoff KC is now heading the DNA inquiry, which has gathered evidence of disturbing failures dating back decades.


Dr Moeller said that as a new reporting scientist she felt out of her depth in dealing with the contamination of samples in the Gladstone murder investigation, so it was suggested Mr Howes could take over the case.


“This appeared to draw his ire when he said, ‘for f..k’s sake I’ll do it’,” Dr Moeller stated.


“For many subsequent years, Justin would bring up (the murder) as a way, I felt, of belittling me. He did this in front of other staff.”


It follows revelations in The Weekend Australian of a separate contamination scandal in the lab that led to a mother being wrongly told her deceased son must have been switched at birth.


In that case, flawed processes resulted in tests repeatedly finding a mother and father could not be the biological parents of a young man whose skeletal remains were found in Brisbane’s south.


More than three years later, a review by renowned forensic scientist Dr Kirsty Wright and colleague Tim Gardam found a bandsaw likely cross-contaminated samples. 


New DNA testing confirmed it was the couple’s son.


Mr Howes and Ms Allen were stood down following a damning interim report by Mr Sofronoff that found the lab misled judges, prosecutors, defence lawyers and victims.


Public hearings are due to resume on Thursday, 

examining the unsolved murder of Shandee Blackburn, the case that sparked the inquiry through The Australian’s podcast, Shandee’s Story.”



https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/dna-lab-shambles-linked-sex-assault-victim-to-fatal-hitrun/news-story/4971fe515ef8baf1b8e62722c447c0c9

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Floyd Bledsoe: Kansas: Question of the day: "Why would the prosecutor, defense attorney, and investigators frame Floyd for a murder that his disabled brother committed? The answer is unclear - but it is clear that the courts are rightfully unwilling to let four Kansas police officers off the hook in this civil case for their tainted investigation by granting them qualified immunity, as reported by Hillel Aron, in The Courthouse News..."Floyd Bledsoe's suit accuses the homicide investigators of coaching Tom through his recantation, of falsifying the results of polygraph tests, of withholding evidence of Tom's guilt from Floyd's defense attorney. Officers also “purposefully declined to subject Tom’s home — or even his room or clothing — to any rigorous forensic examination,” and “declined to collect any physical evidence from the vehicles Tom drove,” including the truck where the murder was said to have taken place."


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "The second amended complaint suggested that Jim Vanderbilt, the prosecutor, was indebted to Hayes, the defense attorney, for helping Vanderbilt avoid "legal exposure for Vanderbilt's appropriation of county funds for personal use. A jury convicted Floyd Bledsoe of murder, kidnapping and "taking indecent liberties with a child." A judge sentenced him to life in prison. Later, an appeal was denied. Floyd served 16 years in prison before newly available DNA testing established that "semen found in Camille's body likely matched Tom's DNA; it was conclusively not a match for Bledsoe," according to Floyd's complaint. Shortly after this revelation, Tom took his own life. He left behind a number of notes, one of which read: "I sent an innocent man to prison. The Jefferson County police and county attorney Jim Vanderbelt made me do it. I was told by Vanderbelt to keep my mouth shut. Now I am going to set thing right. "I killed Camille Arfmann on Nov. 5, 1999. I had sex with her and killed her. … I drove up to the ditch where the family dump trash and tried to convince her not to tell. … I went to my truck and got my 9mm gun that was behind my seat and pushed her to the ground to try to scare her, but it failed with the gun went off behind her head. … I as well might go ahead and say it I raped and murdered a 14 year girl. I tried telling the truth but no one would listen. I was told to keep my mouth shut. It tore me up doing it. I would ask for forgiveness, but I know none will come. Not even from God. "Floyd S Bledsoe is innocent man. "Tom E Bledsoe is the guilty one."

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PASSAGE TWO OF THE DAY: "On Tuesday, more than a year after oral arguments, the panel rejected the officers' appeal. "Appellants assert that they are entitled to qualified immunity because, at most, they were mistaken in believing Bledsoe was guilty of Camille’s rape and murder, and their investigation was at most negligent. Those arguments mischaracterize Bledsoe’s allegations," U.S. Circuit Judge David Ebel, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote for the panel. "Bledsoe alleges that defendants fabricated false evidence against him, knowingly suppressed exculpatory evidence that would have proven his innocence, and facilitated his arrest, pretrial detention and trial without probable cause to believe he was guilty. "None of those alleged actions, by definition, can be done mistakenly or 'innocently.'"

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STORY: "No qualified immunity for Kansas cops in suit over wrongful murder conviction," by Reporter Hillel Aron, published by Courthouse News on November 15, 2022.


SUB-HEADING: "Floyd Bledsoe spent 16 years in prison for the murder of his wife's 14-year-old sister, a crime that DNA evidence would later clear him of. He claims police officers and a prosecutor framed him."


GIST:  "A 10th Circuit panel sided with a federal judge Tuesday in finding four Kansas police officers shouldn't be given qualified immunity in a lawsuit filed by a man who was wrongfully convicted of killing his wife's sister.


In 1999, Floyd Bledsoe, a 23-year-old farmhand, was living in Jefferson County, Kansas, with his wife Heidi, their two young sons and Heidi's 14-year-old sister Camille Arfmann. 


Bledsoe's 25-year-old brother, Tom, lived close by. Tom was "partially deaf" and had "certain intellectual limitations," according to the lawsuit Floyd Bledsoe would later file, as well as a "history of troubling sexual behavior that included pursuing young girls."


On Nov. 5, 1999, Camille went missing. 


Two days later, according to Bledsoe's lawsuit, Tom told both his Sunday school teacher and his parents that he had killed her. 


Tom's parents hired an attorney, Michael Hayes, who took Tom to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department that same day. 


Tom told investigators how he killed Camille and where her body could be found. Hayes turned over the murder weapon — a recently purchased 9 mm handgun. Tom was arrested and charged with homicide.


But Tom would soon change his story, recanting his confession and accusing his brother of the murder.


 Floyd Bledsoe's suit accuses the homicide investigators of coaching Tom through his recantation, of falsifying the results of polygraph tests, of withholding evidence of Tom's guilt from Floyd's defense attorney. 


Officers also “purposefully declined to subject Tom’s home — or even his room or clothing — to any rigorous forensic examination,” and “declined to collect any physical evidence from the vehicles Tom drove,” including the truck where the murder was said to have taken place.


Just why the prosecutor, defense attorney, and investigators would frame Floyd for a murder that his disabled brother committed is unclear. 


The second amended complaint suggested that Jim Vanderbilt, the prosecutor, was indebted to Hayes, the defense attorney, for helping Vanderbilt avoid "legal exposure for Vanderbilt's appropriation of county funds for personal use."


A jury convicted Floyd Bledsoe of murder, kidnapping and "taking indecent liberties with a child." A judge sentenced him to life in prison. Later, an appeal was denied.


Floyd served 16 years in prison before newly available DNA testing established that "semen found in Camille's body likely matched Tom's DNA; it was conclusively not a match for Bledsoe," according to Floyd's complaint. Shortly after this revelation, Tom took his own life. He left behind a number of notes, one of which read: "I sent an innocent man to prison. The Jefferson County police and county attorney Jim Vanderbelt made me do it. I was told by Vanderbelt to keep my mouth shut. Now I am going to set thing right.


"I killed Camille Arfmann on Nov. 5, 1999. I had sex with her and killed her. … I drove up to the ditch where the family dump trash and tried to convince her not to tell. … I went to my truck and got my 9mm gun that was behind my seat and pushed her to the ground to try to scare her, but it failed with the gun went off behind her head. … I as well might go ahead and say it I raped and murdered a 14 year girl. I tried telling the truth but no one would listen. I was told to keep my mouth shut. It tore me up doing it. I would ask for forgiveness, but I know none will come. Not even from God.


"Floyd S Bledsoe is innocent man.


"Tom E Bledsoe is the guilty one."


In 2016, Floyd Bledsoe filed a lawsuit against Vanderbilt, Hayes, Sheriff Roy Dunnaway, then-undersheriff Jeffrey Herrig, and a number of sheriff's deputies who investigated the case. Herrig and three investigators — Randy Carreno, Troy Frost and Robert Poppa — asked the court to dismiss the claims against them on the grounds of qualified immunity, a doctrine that protects government officials from civil liability when their conduct "does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known." A federal judge denied that request.


On appeal at the 10th Circuit in September 2021, the county's attorney Eric Turner told the three-judge panel during oral arguments the officers were doing their job based on the information they had at the time. But Floyd's attorney Ruth Brown urged the panel to reject that argument.


"What we have is homicide investigators who know their colleagues were fabricating evidence and withholding exculpatory evidence," Brown told the panel.



The panel overturned one small aspect of the lower court's ruling, granting the four defendants qualified immunity on Bledsoe's "failure-to-intervene" claim, on the argument that that claim was not clearly established in 1999.


U.S. Circuit Chief Judge Jerome Holmes, a George W. Bush appointee and U.S. Circuit Judge Allison Eid, a Donald Trump appointee, rounded out the panel.


 In a partial concurrence, Eid wrote that she agreed with the other judges in the result of the ruling, but thought they reached their decision on "broader grounds than are necessary."


The case now moves back to the lower court for trial. Neither Brown nor Turner responded to emails and phone calls requesting a comment.""


The entire story can be read at: 

https://www.courthousenews.com/no-qualified-immunity-for-kansas-cops-in-suit-over-wrongful-murder-conviction/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue/resurce. 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;


SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


—————————————————————————————————


FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

-----------------------------------------------------------


Richard Knapp: Vancouver. Washington State; Extremely important geneology-related DNA case in which, as Troy Nelson reports in OPB, "The same technique used to catch the Golden State Killer led to murder charges in a 25-year-old cold case in Vancouver. But, less than a week before trial, Clark County prosecutors had the case dismissed."..."Richard Knapp, 60, was released from the Clark County Jail on Wednesday. Detectives used a genealogy database three and a half years ago to charge him for the 1994 rape and murder of Audray Frasier. Knapp was set to go to trial next week, but another suspect in the case has changed their story in a new deposition. Soon after that deposition, prosecutors called for a judge to dismiss Knapp’s first- and second-degree murder charges. In an interview with OPB, Knapp’s attorneys said detectives missed key lines of inquiry before arresting Knapp. They described detectives as convinced the DNA evidence was a “silver bullet.” “It’s, in my mind, a constant reminder that law enforcement can’t forgo good policework because they have a new toy or a new theory,” attorney Shon Bogar said."


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Bogar and defense attorney Jack Green pointed to a recent deposition of Frasier’s neighbor, Scott Hinshaw, in which he admitted to having sex with Frasier the night she died. They said Hinshaw, whom detectives had listed as a suspect, has never faced charges. Knapp’s arrest drew headlines as among many cases wherein investigators used genealogy and DNA evidence to thaw an unsolved murder case from years past. Similar techniques led to arrests of other criminals, such as the famous 2018 arrest of the Golden State Killer."

STORY: "Cold-case murder trial in Clark County that used genealogy database dismissed amid new evidence," by Reporter Troy Brynelson, published by OPB, on December 1 2022. (Troy Brynelson is OPB’s reporter in Southwest Washington. Previously, he’s covered everything from wildfires and a mass shooting in rural Oregon to tech and housing in Vancouver. He most recently reported on the homeless crisis in the Mid-Willamette Valley.)


SUB-HEADING: ""The same technique used to catch the Golden State Killer led to murder charges in a 25-year-old cold case in Vancouver. But, less than a week before trial, Clark County prosecutors had the case dismissed."


GIST: "Vancouver Police Department detectives in 2019 touted cutting-edge technology for helping solve a two-decades-old homicide. But now that new evidence casts the arrest in doubt, the man who was charged for murder is now walking free.


Richard Knapp, 60, was released from the Clark County Jail on Wednesday. Detectives used a genealogy database three and a half years ago to charge him for the 1994 rape and murder of Audray Frasier.


Knapp was set to go to trial next week, but another suspect in the case has changed their story in a new deposition.


 Soon after that deposition, prosecutors called for a judge to dismiss Knapp’s first- and second-degree murder charges.


In an interview with OPB, Knapp’s attorneys said detectives missed key lines of inquiry before arresting Knapp. They described detectives as convinced the DNA evidence was a “silver bullet.”


“It’s, in my mind, a constant reminder that law enforcement can’t forgo good policework because they have a new toy or a new theory,” attorney Shon Bogar said.


Bogar and defense attorney Jack Green pointed to a recent deposition of Frasier’s neighbor, Scott Hinshaw, in which he admitted to having sex with Frasier the night she died. They said Hinshaw, whom detectives had listed as a suspect, has never faced charges.


Knapp’s arrest drew headlines as among many cases wherein investigators used genealogy and DNA evidence to thaw an unsolved murder case from years past. Similar techniques led to arrests of other criminals, such as the famous 2018 arrest of the Golden State Killer.


Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik declined to discuss the new evidence or how prosecutors arrived at their decision to dismiss the case.


“We were no longer convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, based on the evidence we have as we understand it now, that Mr. Knapp could be convicted,” Golik said. “We were ethically bound at that point to dismiss the prosecution.”


The Vancouver Police Department, whose detectives spearheaded the initial murder investigation and Knapp’s arrest years later, did not respond to requests for comment.


Knapp’s defense attorneys told OPB they believed the cold case detectives had “good intentions,” but failed to rule out other possibilities and “put the blinders on” to close it.


Vancouver police officers found the body of Frasier — who was also known as Audrey Hollein — on July 17, 1994, while responding to a 9-1-1 call from her neighbor. According to court records, her body could be seen from a window outside the apartment.


Detectives found traces of DNA from multiple people. Detectives used the DNA to rule out suspects, cross-referencing their samples with what was found in the apartment, Knapp’s attorneys said.


Detectives never made any arrests in the case. 


Then it went cold.


Years later, Vancouver detectives Dustin Goudschaal and Neil Martin tried something new. As they told reporters at an April 2019 press conference, they enlisted Virginia-based Parabon Nanolabs, a company that analyzes DNA and uses it to create a genealogical profile.


According to news reports after Knapp’s arrest, the company used genetic material from the crime scene and uploaded it to a vast database to find similar genealogical matches.


That process pointed detectives to Knapp, who lived in Clark County, Washington, around the time of Frasier’s death. As detectives told reporters, they trailed Knapp for several months until they plucked a discarded cigarette butt and tested it for DNA evidence.


Knapp appeared as a match for semen cells found inside Frasier’s vagina. 


Detectives noted in an arrest warrant that Knapp, who had since moved to Fairview, Oregon, had been previously convicted of sexual assault in 1986.


On April 29, 2019, detectives stopped Knapp’s car and arrested him, where he remained incarcerated at the Clark County Jail until this week.


Knapp has never admitted in court to knowing or having a relationship with Frasier, according to his defense.


 He told detectives only that he used to have many relationships with women, used drugs and alcohol and frequented the same bars as Frasier.


His defense argued that DNA evidence alone doesn’t prove wrongdoing.


“The thing with DNA is it’s like a fingerprint. It doesn’t show when something was put there. It shows something was there. But then you have to look at other information to determine [what happened],” Bogar said. “Blood could be there for days before, just like semen.”


According to court records, forensic experts also found a separate trace of semen at the scene in 2017. The sample had been traced to Hinshaw, Frasier’s next-door neighbor who called the police to report finding her body.


Court records also say detectives interviewed Hinshaw after discovering the DNA sample, but it’s unclear if they ever questioned him as a suspect.


 Bogar and Green questioned Hinshaw under oath on Oct. 20, where he admitted to penetrating Frasier the night she was killed.


Hinshaw could not be reached for comment.


Golik, the prosecutor, declined to talk specifically about new evidence. He said only that “several witnesses... very, very significantly changed their story about what had occurred.”


The prosecution called for the case to be dismissed without prejudice, Golik said, which means Knapp could technically face charges again pending further investigation.


Knapp, through his attorneys, did not provide a comment about his release. 


His attorneys declined to say whether they will sue for damages related to his jailing.



“Richard spent 1,312 days in jail. He lost his home, his job, his life. His wife died in June 2021. She went to sleep knowing they were together, although he was in jail,” Bogar said in a prepared statement. “Richard has maintained his innocence since his arrest. And the decision today speaks for itself.""


The entire story can be read at:

https://www.opb.org/article/2022/12/01/clark-county-cold-case-charges-based-dna-test-dismissed-amid-new-evidence/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue/resurce. 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;


SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


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FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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Beleaguered Lab series: Australia; (Part 1): Queensland DNA Lab: “Doubt cast over more than 1000 Queensland criminal cases after forensic scientists at government-run DNA laboratory made false statements in court for the past five years," The Australian, (Reporter Lydia Lynch) reports..."Retired Court of Appeal president Walter Sofronoff, who is overseeing a royal ­commission-style inquiry into the lab, made interim findings in September that scientists had made “untrue” statements to courts, prosecutors and victims of crime since early 2018. The lab was ordered to ­compile a list of affected cases for police, and on Thursday Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told parliament there had been 1840 misleading statements made in court. Queensland Health later ­revealed there were 1260 court cases affected by the incorrect statements, casting doubt over convictions and acquittals."


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the state would urgently resolve any cases where there has been a miscarriage of justice and confirmed that there might be appeals. Queensland’s testing threshold, exposed in The Australian’s investigative podcast series Shandee’s Story, has been a focus of Mr Sofronoff’s $6m ­inquiry but similar doubts have been cast on cases dating back to 2013. The inquiry last week heard the lab was experiencing catastrophic flaws – including a faulty dishwasher and poor ­processes – at the time it failed to find any useful evidence in ­Shandee Blackburn’s February 2013 murder investigation. Blackburn, 23, was murdered in a stabbing attack as she walked home from work in Mackay."

STORY: “Labs false evidence imperils 1200 cases", by Queensland Political Reporter Lydia Lynch,” reported by The Australian, on December  2, 2022. (Lydia Lynch covers state and federal politics for The Australian in Queensland. She previously covered politics at Brisbane Times and has worked as a reporter at the North West Star in Mount Isa.)


GIST:  “Doubt has been cast over more than 1000 Queensland criminal cases after forensic scientists at the government-run DNA laboratory made false statements in court for the past five years.


Retired Court of Appeal president Walter Sofronoff, who is overseeing a royal ­commission-style inquiry into the lab, made interim findings in September that scientists had made “untrue” statements to courts, prosecutors and victims of crime since early 2018.


The lab was ordered to ­compile a list of affected cases for police, and on Thursday Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told parliament there had been 1840 misleading statements made in court.


Queensland Health later ­revealed there were 1260 court cases affected by the incorrect statements, casting doubt over convictions and acquittals.


“First, you have to identify those samples, then they need to be prioritised as far as ongoing cases, past cases, matters that had not progressed to charges or to any prosecutions,” Ms D’Ath said. “Then it needs to be determined whether those tests need to be done or whether there were other samples that related to that case such that it is not necessary to go back to particular samples.”


Since 2018, if samples fell below Queensland’s unusually high testing threshold, they were reported by the lab as having “insufficient DNA” or “no DNA detected” to police and in the formal evidence statements scientists gave in court.


In his interim report, Mr Sof­ronoff found it was possible to extract “either a full or partial profile” below the threshold, meaning statements routinely produced by the lab were untrue.


Under questioning from the LNP in parliament on Thursday, Ms D’Ath said the misleading statements would be corrected.


“We have been working with stakeholders about the format in which those new statements should be issued,” she said.

“Statements will start being replaced or issued quite shortly.”



Liberal National Party justice spokesman Tim Nicholls said a reconstituted inquiry should receive and investigate complaints by victims who believe their matter may have been affected by the lab failings.


“The commission should also monitor the progress of those matters where a failure of the lab has been identified and most ­importantly, it should provide ­advice and ongoing support to victims of crime so they can be satisfied their matter has been properly heard and investigated.

“This will ensure no one is forgotten or left behind and is given every chance to see justice served.

“This is one of the most ­catastrophic failings of an institution in Queensland’s history.”


Ms Fentiman said a government taskforce, set up in September, was already reviewing impacted cases.


“There is a huge amount of work under way, not only in relation to witness statements and preparing new statements for those matters but also retesting individual samples,” she said.


“We will urgently resolve any cases where there has been a ­miscarriage of justice – there may be some appeals that come from this.”


Opposition spokeswoman for the prevention of sexual violence Amanda Camm said she had been contacted by a victim who was being denied access to her own forensic report.


Ms Camm said the woman called the government’s DNA hotline but was given no help.


Ms Fentiman said that was “absolutely not acceptable”.


“There have been a number of calls made to the hotline; if someone has had an unacceptable ­experience, please let us know so we can fix it.


“Please get in contact with my office.”


The entire story can be read at:


PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue/resurce. 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;


SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


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FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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