Sunday, May 27, 2018

Joe Bryan: Texas: (Part (1): Bloodstain-pattern analysis: The Mickey Bryan case; An extraordinary two-part analyses by Pamel Colloff. Here's the setting for Part one - with a link to the entire opus. (Part two is still to come)..." "The murder of Mickey Bryan, a quiet fourth-grade teacher, stunned her small Texas town. Then her husband, a beloved high school principal, was charged with killing her. Did he do it, or had there been a terrible mistake? Blood will tell." (How can anyone not read this! HL);

Blood clipart blood splat #1042
HEADING: "The murder of Mickey Bryan, a quiet fourth-grade teacher, stunned her small Texas town. Then her husband, a beloved high school principal, was charged with killing her. Did he do it, or had there been a terrible mistake? Blood will tell."  May 23, 2018.

DESCRIPTION FROM THE MARSHALL PROJECT: "Criminal justice journalism hero Pam Colloff is back with another gripping narrative about the murder of a teacher in a small Texas town, and the dubious prosecution of her husband that followed. At the center of this story is the shaky science of “bloodstain-pattern analysis,” which uses the placement and distribution of blood at a crime scene to reconstruct what happened, often by undertrained police. “Blood, they held, had a story to tell.” Keep an eye out for the forthcoming Part II at ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine. — Christie Thompson

ORGANIZATION:  "This article is a partnership between ProPublica, where Pamela Colloff is a senior reporter, and The New York Times Magazine, where she is a writer at large. This is Part I of a two-part investigation."

PAMELA COLLOFF: "Pamela Colloff is a senior reporter at ProPublica and a writer-at-large at The New York Times Magazine. Colloff has been nominated for six National Magazine Awards – more than any other female writer in the award’s history – and won for feature writing in 2013. The following year, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University awarded her the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. Her story is the first for a unique partnership between ProPublica and the Times, which allows her to report on criminal justice using the resources of both organizations."

HOW THEY REPORTED THIS STORY: "This story provides a detailed and intimate look at a 33-year-old murder case. To reconstruct the case for this narrative, Pamela Colloff drew on voluminous court records, more than 4,000 pages of trial testimony dating back to the 1980s, current litigation over DNA analysis and the ongoing writ of habeas corpus proceeding. She also had access to the extensive investigative notes compiled during the murder investigations of Mickey Bryan and Judy Whitley — including Texas Ranger records, Clifton Police Department reports, and investigators’ handwritten notes. Though several central players in the case declined to participate, Colloff reviewed affidavits they had written, sworn testimony, and legal briefs to portray these individuals’ viewpoints. She also drew upon decades of correspondence between W. Leon Smith, the former editor in chief of the Clifton Record, and Joe Bryan. Finally, Colloff conducted interviews with dozens of past and present residents of Clifton, whose memories and insights were invaluable."

PROPUBLICA'S DESCRIPTION OF THE STORY: "Life, death, and blood splatter testing in a small Texas town. An elementary school teacher is killed and her husband, the town’s high school principal, is charged with murder. The case against him is shaky, relying on blood testing and a dubious motive, but it doesn’t matter to jurors, who twice convict Joe Bryan for the murder of his wife, Mickey. Here is Part I of a longform story about a decades-old case that raises new questions about forensic science and police tactics, as reported by Pamela Colloff."

A VERY SMALL TASTE: "Wilie’s search of the trunk had not turned up the money bag, however; when he heard Joe’s story, he was certain that Joe was lying. He became even more suspicious when the results from the crime lab came back: The specks on the flashlight lens were human blood, type O — the same blood type as Mickey’s, but not Joe’s. Blood typing was the most precise tool that law enforcement had for such evidence before the advent of DNA testing, though it was hardly definitive; nearly half the population has type O blood. Whose blood it was could not be settled with any certainty, but from that point on, the investigation hurtled forward under the assumption that it could have come only from Mickey. A crime-lab chemist also found a few tiny plastic particles on the flashlight lens that, she said, appeared to have the same characteristics as fragments of the birdshot shells that were found at the crime scene. Wilie felt confident enough in the evidence to believe that he had his man. On Wednesday, Oct. 23, 1985, eight days after Mickey was found dead, Wilie, Brennand and the Bosque County sheriff appeared at the doorway of Thelma Bryan’s home in Elm Mott. It was evening by then, and the men had arrived unannounced. Joe looked at them expectantly, assuming that they had come to tell him of an important break in the case. Instead, Wilie informed Joe that he was under arrest for his wife’s murder. “Are you serious?” Joe said. He looked in disbelief at the three men who were standing in his mother’s den. “On what evidence?” he demanded. He was not given an answer before he was put in handcuffs and led outside, where a Waco TV news crew — who had been tipped off to the arrest — was waiting."

BONUS: By subscribing (no charge) to the two part series you will receive this  note from author Pamela Colloff. "Thanks for subscribing to the “Blood Will Tell” newsletter.  You’re probably already reading Part I of my investigation into a Texas murder case that hinged on a type of forensic science called bloodstain pattern analysis. ProPublica will send you a notification when we publish Part II later this month. After that, I’ll send you a handful of additional emails over the course of a few weeks sharing stories about this work. These newsletters will give you insight into the investigation, my reporting process and how I pieced together the narrative. If you have any questions or comments, go ahead and reply to this email. I’ll be sure to respond.  Pamela Colloff. Senior Reporter. ProPublica." That's  a pretty amazing approach to criminal justice reporting.  Bravo ProPublica. HL;

The entire opus can be read at the link below:

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.